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Fostering EFL Students’ Intercultural Communicative Competence, Learner Autonomy and Speaking Fluency through Computer-Mediated Communication (CMC) University of Alberta


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Shimiao Zhu
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Computer-Mediated Communication (CMC), Intercultural Communicative Competence, Learner Autonomy, Speaking Fluency, Chinese College English Education
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Teacher-centered and grammar-oriented Chinese College English Education faces new challenges in the context of 21st century world globalization, including the fact that most EFL students find it difficult to efficiently interact with native speakers even though they get high marks in the College English Test. Moreover, Chinese EFL educators put more emphasis on improving student’s linguistic competence rather than their pragmatic competence in the target language. Furthermore, the Confucian educational philosophy, which greatly influences Chinese students’ learning styles, is characterized by a teacher-orientation, passive knowledge gaining, memorization as well as repetition and receptiveness, which neglect students’ communicative competence and oral fluency. In addition, Chinese learners are taught to maintain a hierarchical but harmonious relationship with their instructors. They show deep respect for teachers and are not encouraged to challenge them or their textbooks and classics, which are viewed as the source of authoritative knowledge. As a result, students’ critical thinking does not develop and the teacher-centered classroom mode hinders their learning independence, which plays a crucial role in foreign language education. Further, Chinese students tend to study individually rather than cooperate with others to solve problems and Chinese EFL educators find it difficult to involve students in group discussions due to the large class sizes. In this sense, with the development of the world wide web, Computer-mediated Communication (CMC) is viewed as a catalyst towards promoting students’ language proficiency beyond constraints of time and space. Hence, this study mainly explores how CMC can improve learners’ intercultural communicative competence, learning autonomy, speaking fluency and participation. The result of the literature review indicates that CMC contributes to improving students’ communicative competence, learning autonomy and oral fluency in authentic interactive contexts.
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