Research Methods in Communication

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This paper aims to examine the role of international and intercultural communication as essential components in educating and training library and information staff. Based on a literature review, the paper discusses the meaning and definition of internationalization, and provides an overview of the main issues and trends in internationalization of higher education. It also explains how the concept of and approaches to internationalization have greatly influenced library and information science educational settings and programs in Europe and the USA. The findings show that schools that already has or plans to provide exchange programs or international studies should see international students and teachers as windows to the outside world and new opportunities for personal and professional development of their local communities.

Cebron, N., Jablonkai, R., & Rados, L. (2005). The cross-cultural business communication project or exploiting ICT to facilitate ICC. Journal of Intercultural Communication, 9(June).

In this study, the authors aim to examine the raising of intercultural awareness in classroom and especially students response. The analysis is based on a project in which Business English learning has been carried out through various approaches in a series of virtual workshops. 500 students, 18 teachers, 16 institutions from 10 different countries participated in the network. The findings show that ICC is gaining attention in foreign language teaching, and the cyberspace is proved to helpful in motivating students and prompting tailor-made teaching tools for students' needs. It also finds out that teachers role in culture teaching should be reevaluated.

Cheng, L. (2006). On the earlierization of foreign language learning. Journal of Linyi Teachers University, 28(4), 134-137

Noticing the fact that Chinese children begin learning foreign languages from increasingly younger age, the author analyses the change of starting age and attitudes toward earlieraization of learning foreign languages through 67 questionnaires from 2 groups of people of different ages. To reflect the status quo and the problems of English learning among preschoolers, data of English teaching resources, textooks and class arrangements were collected from 10 kindergartens. By comparing the starting age of foreign language learning in China and other countries, and referring it to the major theories on optimal foreign language learning age, the paper concludes that studying foreign language in early age is neither empiricalyl nor theoretically supported.

Cowley, P., & Hanna, B. E. (2005). Cross-cultural skills - Crossing the disciplinary divide. Language and Communication, 25(1), 1-17.

The paper examines the differences in perceiving intercultural differences and its relationship to the classroom teaching in two unites in ICC in Australian universities. It also raises a number of issues of relevance to the teaching of culture within “language courses.”. The study includes regular observation of and participation in the weekly classes in two units of students of different levels and through analysing of the outlines and reading lists provided. The study suggestes some ways of exploiting available forms of cultural difference and some ways such as interdisciplinary approach to train students to see themselves as good communicators.

Gevorgyan, G., & Porter, L. V. (2008). One size does not fit all: Culture and perceived importance of web design features. Journal of Website Promotion, 3(1-2), 25-38.

The study assumes that according to Geert Hofstede's theory of cultural dimensions, internet users from different cultures would value specific web design features differently. The hypotheses were tested by a survey of American and Chinese college students' perceptions and preference in certain features in websites. 67 American and 62 Chinese students participated in it. The results confirm the assumption that cultural backgrounds influence perceptions of web designing. On basis of this conclusion, it is suggested that putting cultural values in to web designing is an important part in website promotion.

Holmes, P.(2005). Ethnic Chinese students' communication with cultural others in a New Zealand university. Communication Education, 54(4), 289-311

This interpretive study explores the ethnic Chinese students' experiences in a New Zealand university classroom context. The study was supported by naturalistic inquiry and thirteen ethnic Chinese students in a New Zealand business school participated in the research. This study finds that Chinese communicative pattern is a barrier to study in the new culture and it was necessary for Chinese students to reconstruct and renegotiate their communication so as to adapt to the new environment. It also raises important suggestions for educators to recognize the importance of cross-cultural communication and to try to internationalizing the classroom.

Huntington, A., & Sudbery, J. (2005). Virtual classrooms: Experiences of European collaborative teaching and learning. Social Work Education, 24(3), 363-371.

In this study, the authors briefly describe some components and features of a 'virtual classroom', reflecte on staff experience, and highlight some important issues when using ICT for social work education. The analysis is based on two examples: the first one being a compulsory lecture for self-selected students and tutors, and the second one being a case study of four members in a family. The findings show that on the one hand, effective ICT needs to be used properly to enhance student experience and outcomes. On the other hand, to avoid negative impact, the existing structural inequality needs to be taken into consideration.

Liao, C. (2005). A contrastive study of the choice of evidence in Chinese and English argumentative essays. Journal of Yunnan Normal University. 3(3), 55-59

In this study, the author aims to find out the differences in the choice of evidence in Chinese and English persuasive writings and the link between the major thoughts in both cultures and the differences. By analysing the exerts from classic works of both languages, the study shows that Chinese persuasive writings tend to value opinions of celebrities and well-known sources while English writers consider common people's examples and factual statistics more forceful, and these differences are significantly influenced by the "Rule of the Law" in traditional English culture and "Rule by Morality" in traditional Chinese culture.

Martinovic, D., & Dlamini, S. N. (2009). Is 'good' really good? Exploring internationally educated teacher candidates' verbal descriptions of their in-school experiences. Language Awareness, 18(2), 129-146.

In this study, the authors present an incident that shows teacher candidates' strategic ways of using words like "good" and "fine", to hide true feelings in their teaching experience. The discussion is based on segments of data collected from a seminar, a part of a teacher education programme in a Canadian university. In the conclusion, the authors point out that associate teachers use this kind of language to control teacher candidates and prevent them from changing established norms and values, and teacher candidates use them to defend themselves against being controlled.

Nakane, I. (2006). Silence and politeness in intercultural communication in university seminars. Journal of Pragmatics, 38(11), 1811-1835.

This paper aims to explain the phenomena that Asia students remain silence in foreign classes through comparing classroom behaviour of students from Japanese and Australian backgrounds. By using participant interviews, classroom observation and detailed discourse analysis, the author suggests that the silence is commonly used by Japanese students to save face while Australian students tend to use verbal strategies for the same purpose. It also finds that Japanese students' extensive use of face-saving silences gives the instructors a negative impression and is considered lack of rapport. However, it is also pointed out that silence may be negotiated when they realize this situation in classroom interaction.

Ngwainmbi, E. K. (2004). Communication in the Chinese classroom. Education, 125(1), 63-76.

To examine the correlation between Chinese learners and the American professors, who are believed to be motivators and mentors, the study uses a participant-observer approach in which a course open to the public is designed and students's performance is recorded and analysed. It is found out that Chinese learners operating in a formal environment have a critical mind, and are more willing to interact on interesting topics and in interactive teaching styles, but they are likely to be selective when asked to comment on political issues.

Tange, H. (2010). Caught in the tower of babel: University lecturers' experiences with internationalisation. Language and Intercultural Communication, 10(2), 137-149.

The paper shows that higher education organizations in Danmark are increasingly internationalized nowadays. By conducting a total of 20 qualitative research interviews with lecturing and administrative staff at three faculties, the analysis emphasizes the necessity of their changing in teaching manner and contents, and the challenges for lecturers to act and interact in this multicultural learning and teaching environment. It is then suggested that institutions should pay more attention to the internationalization of education, make more efforts to improve their understanding of it in order to provide comprehensive knowledge and to function more efficiently and effectively in a multicultural environment..

Wei, X. (2009). On negative cultural transfer in communication between Chinese and Americans. Journal of Intercultural Communication, 21(Oct).

In this study, the author discusses negative cultural transfer in communication between Chinese and Americans from two levels: the negative transfer of surface-structure culture such as language forms and speech acts, and the one of deep-structure culture in values, thinking patterns, religious beliefs and ethics. The author examines some notions characterized with cultural particularity and discusses their meanings in details. The findings shows the necessity of breaking apart cultural stereotypes, of forming sensitivity to subtle differences in different cultures, and of toleranting different attitudes toward foreigners and certain communicative strategies.

Xia, L. (2005). Intercultural rhetorical studies in argumentative discourse: English vs. Chinese. Retrieved from CNKI Academic Resources.

This dissertation aims to examine both the similarities and dissimilarities of English and Chinese argumentative discourses. By closely examining 120 English and Chinese argumentative essays, this study shows that Chinese persuader prefer proverbs, analogies,and inductive reasoning, as indicated in the formulation of ethical and logical appeals in contemporary Chinese argumentative discourse. In contrast, Western ways of thinking and emphasis on the values of freedom, democracy and individualism in contemporary American argumentation.

Zeki, C. P. (2009). The importance of non-verbal communication in classroom management. Procedia - Social and Behavioral Sciences, 1(1), 1443-1449.

The aim of this study is to examine students’ understandings of nonverbal communication in classroom environment. The researcher enrolled 67 third-year university students into two classroom management groups who are asked to write reports according to the teachers instructions. Content analysis is used to analyse the qualitative data collected from the students' reports. The findings reveal that non-verbal communication can significantly motivate students, draw and maintain their attention. Therefore, it is recommended that teachers should be aware of the importance of nonverbal communication and use it properly to achieve a better classroom management.

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The topic I would like to discuss is the cultural challenges that international students would meet in foreign classroom and the suggestions for them and the teachers.