Intercultural Competence Development: Implementing International Virtual Elementary Classroom Activities into Public Schools in the U.S. and Korea

O'Neill, Eunhee Jung, Curry School of Education, University of Virginia
Bunch, John, Curry School of Education, University of Virginia
Schoeny, Zahrl, University of Virginia
Hoffman, Diane, Curry School of Education, University of Virginia
Heinecke, Walter, Curry School of Education, University of Virginia

Today's global society requires inter culturally competent individuals who have an understanding of different cultures and ability to appropriately and effectively solve problems in international and multicultural environments. To prepare children for this global society, the school's role of producing such competent human resources is important. Few studies have focused on both developing intercultural competence for elementary school students and discovering feasible ways of implementing a cross cultural exchange program into the public elementary school systems, which have different types of curriculums. International Virtual Elementary Classroom Activities (IVECA) was designed to provide upper elementary students in the U.S. and Korea with an intercultural learning opportunity through an online course management system. This study investigated three research questions: (1) What are the effects of an electronically facilitated intercultural exchange program, IVECA, on student outcomes such as intercultural competence? (2) What are the processes of intercultural teaching and learning in IVECA? (3) What factors condition the implementation of IVECA?

Three classroom students in an American school and three classrooms in three Korean schools participated in this study. Each classroom teachers, the school principals and resource teachers were also involved. A mixed method design was employed for this study. Qualitative data was collected through classroom observations, interviews, students journals, discussion board postings, and school documentations. Quantitative data was obtained via surveys, which measured students' ICC and its five dimensions: Knowledge, Attitudes, Skills, Awareness, and Language proficiency. Miles and Huberman's data analysis approach and NVivo program were used for qualitative data analysis. Descriptive statistics, paired t-test, and repeated measures ANOVA were conducted for quantitative data analysis on the pre and post-surveys. Findings indicated students improved their ICC, increased motivation to learn at school, enhanced writing skills, and expanded worldviews. Students' language and ICT competencies were considered in the intercultural teaching and learning processes. Teachers' time and administrative leadership were considered as major factors of the IVECA implementation.

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PHD (Doctor of Philosophy)

Digitization of this thesis was made possible by a generous grant from the Jefferson Trust, 2015.

Thesis originally deposited on 2016-04-29 in version 1.28 of Libra. This thesis was migrated to Libra2 on 2017-03-23 16:36:56.

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