CALICO Journal, Vol 35, No 3 (2018)

Value Orientations and Off-Topic Interactions: Contradictions in American–Japanese Intercultural Telecollaboration

Tomoe Nishio, Masanobu Nakatsugawa
Issued Date: 17 Sep 2018


Drawing from activity theory and its notion of contradictions of various levels, the present study analyzes tensions that emerged during a six-week telecollaborative project between American learners of Japanese (AMU students) and Japanese learners of English (JPU students) regarding expectations and manners of interaction. Transpacific groups of students participated in online discussions of pre-assigned topics and a series of supplemental, reflective tasks such as in-class discussions, weekly journals, and individual interviews. Using a three-stage grounded theory data coding strategy, major contradictions were identified and analyzed. This case study presents negotiation of an emergent contradiction concerning learner expectations and manners of interaction between two transpacific groups. The object of the two JPU participants was oriented more toward exchange value and they faced a contradiction when the transpacific conversation went off-topic, while their AMU partners enjoyed it. Findings also show how the negotiation of a contradiction in an activity system undergoes expansive transformation involving a neighboring activity system.

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DOI: 10.1558/cj.33822


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