A Study of Using Instant Messaging Programs to Improve the Intercultural Communication Competence of College Students
|School||Ocean University of China|
|Course||Foreign Linguistics and Applied Linguistics|
|Keywords||Intercultural Communication Competence Instant Messaging Programs Chinese College Students|
As globalization becomes the general trend of the world, more and more intercultural communications are taking place in today’s society. In order to be competitive in the future work, college students who are non-English majors are exerting more and more efforts into learning English. The result is that their ability in using English as a second language has been improved greatly. But, the intercultural communication competence of these college students is not a major concern for both themselves and their teachers. With the lack of intercultural communication competence, more often than not, students feel at a loss when they speak English with native speakers and misunderstanding is thus caused. Language is after all, closely connected with the culture of the people who speak it as their own language. Therefore, in today’s world, it is no longer efficient to teach English solely as a language without training students’intercultural communication ability.In the current college English teaching, the teaching of intercultural communication skills is confined to the textbooks. Due to the fact that the teachers’ intercultural communication abilities vary, and that the number of foreign teachers is limited, students don’t have many opportunities to practise the’rules’listed in the textbooks, not to mention that those textbooks themselves are way out of date. Internet may be the key to solve this problem. By downloading instant messaging programs from the Internet, Internet users can communicate with other Internet users around the world by both voice chat and typing.The author of this thesis tries to carry out the study which aims at investigating students’intercultural communication competence by means of questionnaires. Participants of this study were randomly chosen from 3 classes in Grade 1 in Shandong Institute of Business and Technology. They are all non-English majors. They were required to fill in questionnaires for evaluating their intercultural communication competence before and after their session of using instant messaging programs to communicate native English speakers over a period of 120 days. During the research, they spent about 30 minutes communicating with native English speakers using the instant messaging programs. In order to collect data for analysis, the author employed the powerful Statistical Package for Social Sciences (SPSS, version 11.0) As well as data analysing, the author also followed the students through the whole study and recorded the change in their outlook on intercultural communication. In this paper, the author tries to seek answers to the following three questions:1) As most college students’intercultural communication competence is inadequate, does this inadequacy lie in the layer of knowledge or is it in practice? 2) Can students’ intercultural communication competence be improved by using instant messaging programs? 3) How can students stick to the right track when they use instant messaging programs in daily practice?This study has shown that using instant messaging programs is an efficient and useful way for Chinese college students to improve their intercultural communication competence. Participants of this research are very interested in using instant messaging programs to communicate with westerners, and their wiliness in using English to communicate with westerners increased greatly. Given the shyness of most college students which appears in face-to-face communication with westerners, as well as the lack of foreign teachers, instant messaging programs offer students a relaxing and easily available environment for their English learning and for the training of their intercultural communication abilities.