Date(s) - 20/07/2018
9:00 pm - 10:00 pm



The research begins with a brief discussion of the conceptions of culture (Dwight Atkinson, 1999; George Yule 2012). The nature of culture as a social existence underpins the learning model of team-learning. Akira Tajino and Craig Smith (2016), proposed “a more collaborative and inclusive approach”-“team learning” (p.12), they also illustrated two types of team learning patterns. Brown (2000) believes that “the experiential or process model (Robinson-Stuart & Nocon 1996) of culture learning in the classroom can help students turn such an experience into one of increased cultural and self-awareness” (p.189). Robinson-Stuart and Nocon (1996) insisted that culture learning could not be achieved as an automatic byproduct of language instruction. He held the notion that a foreign language curriculum should encourage the interaction with the culture, instead of just a list of facts. Patsy M. Lightbown & Nina Spada (2013) supported the view that“If learners need to speak the second language in a wide range of social situations or to fulfill professional ambitions, they will perceive the communicative value of the second language and are therefore likely to be motivated to acquire proficiency in it”(p. 87). Michael Vande Berg (2016) proposes a four-phase framework for intercultural learning. It stresses four competencies—self-awareness, awareness of others, tuning into and attending to emotions, and cultural bridging. 

The research is based on findings of the pedagogical practices of Academic Speaking. The research sheds light on the contribution of team learning to the cultural learning in ESL classroom. According to the survey on the issues of traditional cultural learning and teaching, the students report that they are taught to remember pure facts about the target language while having few chances to experience and reflect upon it. The research is based on a twelve-week project involving 70 participants at Yanbian University in China. The students are requested to make presentations on culture in language acquisition working as a group. The pedagogical implication is that interaction of language learners help them sustain in the target language immersion.    

The students engage themselves in the definition of culture and the connections between culture learning and language acquisition. They build up cultural learning community with authentic English materials. After the twelve-week project, interviews are made to find out the effect of a team-learning model. The students assume that team learning brings informed interaction that enhances the receptivity of the target culture. One of the benefits of team learning is to break the stereotypes of psychological blocks. In this research critical rethinking is given to the issues of traditional ESL curricula in cultural teaching. The involvement and interaction help the students gain access to intercultural competencies framework. With diverse ethical background and prior language learning experience, the ESL learners manage to balance the challenge of the target culture and the support of collaborative work.

Key Words: team learning; target culture; cultural learning; ESL; reflective learning; critical thinking


Watch the Video

A Study of Team Learning of culture in ESL Classroom


Hongyan Qu

Hongyan Qu,
Yanbian University
Yanji, China

Selected References

  1. Akira Tajino and Craig Smith. 2016. Beyond team teaching-An introduction to team learning in language education. In Akira Tajino, Tim Stewart and David Dalsky (Eds.) Team Teaching and Team Learning in the Language Classroom-Collaboration for innovation in ELT. pp.12.
  2. Dwight Atkinson. 1999. TESOL and Culture. TESOL Journal,33:DOI:10.2307/3587880
  3. Patsy M. Lightbown & Nina Spada. 2013. How Languages are Learned. Oxford University Press. pp.87.
  4. Robinson-Stuart, Gail and Nocon, Honorine. 1996. Second culture acquisition: Ethnography in the foreign language classroom. Modern Language Journal 80: 431-449.
  5. Vande Berg, Michael. 2016. “From the Inside Out: Transformative Teaching and Learning.” Presented at the Workshop on Intercultural Skills Enhancement (WISE) Conference, Wake Forest University, Winston-Salem, NS, February 3, 2016.