This paper discusses using project-based tasks to improve the understanding of cultural theory in a content-based language classroom. The course of concern is a university-level intercultural communication class, where students study a variety of cultural theories and then use these theories to explain cultural artifacts and cultural behavior in a variety of cultures. In previous years, various models of cultural theory, such as those of Hall (1976), Hofestede (2011), and Trompenaars (1997) were introduced to students through readings and lectures. These theories were then used as the basis for essays and final research papers. It was found that students only gained a shallow understanding of the models through readings and teacher-based instruction, resulting in very little thinking beyond the text. It was hoped that using two kinds of digital projects, digital storytelling, and digital zines, would allow students to illustrate the theories, thus leading to a deeper understanding of the models.
For each aspect of cultural theory presented by the instructor, students were given a set of tasks that helped them create a digital story or a zine. The tasks revolved around reframing the theoretical aspect from the readings, connecting the aspect to their own experience, and creating a digital representation of the theory. This story was then presented to their peers as an illustration of the complex cultural theory. It is hoped that by incorporating their own experiences and framing the theory as a story, students will more easily grasp these abstract concepts and incorporate them into their analysis.
The results of using project-based tasks in the classroom will be discussed in light of task efficacy, task completion, and the effect of the tasks on motivation and willingness to communicate.
The paper discusses how content-based instruction in cultural theory was made more relevant to students through the use of two kinds of digital task-based projects: digital storytelling and the creation of a digital zine. A brief background of the content-based course is given, followed by a detailed description of the two tasks. The process of creating and recording a digital story and its connection to the course content is explained, as well as the purpose and process of creating a digital zine. The results of these two projects are discussed in light of the course materials and student reactions to the material presentation. It is hoped that these results will provide evidence for the positive interface between CBI and digital task-based projects.
Peter Gobel, Kyoto Sangyo University, Japan
Makimi Kano, Kyoto Sangyo University, Japan
About the Presenter(s)
Dr Peter Gobel is a University Professor/Principal Lecturer at Kyoto Sangyo University in Japan
See this presentation on the full schedule – Saturday Schedule