A Vygotskian approach to mediating learner intercultural competence during study abroad

Matthew E. Poehner, Michelle L. Pasterick

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


This study examines learner interaction with mediating resources designed to promote their intercultural competence (Byram, 2009; Deardorff, 2009) during study abroad that were made available to them through an online instructional space. In this way, the project offers a response to the challenges of students attempting to navigate a new cultural context without affordances characteristic of formal learning environments (i. e. an instructor, assigned readings, organized discussions). Undergraduate learners from a U. S. university foreign language program were enrolled in an online course organized according to principles of Vygotskian theory (2012), specifically the importance of abstract concepts and models for mediating thinking. Selected readings introduced learners to an intercultural communicative framework and discussions guided learners to reflect upon and interpret their experiences in light of ideas presented in the readings. Analysis of participant reflections and discussions reveal participant intercultural competence and ways in which it was mediated through the online course.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)517-541
Number of pages25
JournalIRAL - International Review of Applied Linguistics in Language Teaching
Issue number4
StatePublished - Nov 1 2021

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Language and Linguistics
  • Linguistics and Language


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