Initiating Intercultural Communicative Competence through Telecollaboration: A Case of Language-Exchange Classrooms of Arabic and English

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telecollaboration, online collaboration, intercultural communicative competence, foreign-language classroom, cultural learning


This paper investigates to what extent telecollaboration can be integrated as an effective medium for the enhancement of intercultural communicative competence (ICC) in the foreign-language classroom. The data was obtained over one semester from a series of asynchronous exchanges in language-exchange class settings using Google drives shared between United States-based students learning Arabic as a foreign language at three American universities, and students at a Saudi university in Saudi Arabia learning English as a foreign language. The one-on-one interactions covered a variety of topics related to cultural knowledge, perspectives, values, practices, behaviors, and products. The data from this collaborative online project also included two reflection surveys that students responded to before and after the study. Byram’s 2021 model (including its objectives) was applied, and the findings reveal that many ICC objectives are clearly reflected in students’ telecollaborative exchanges, indicating that this type of exchange can be used effectively as a tool to develop students’ intercultural competence. The findings also show a noticeable increase in students’ interests in cultural learning and understanding the culture of others.


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Author Biographies

Ahmed A. Al Khateeb, King Faisal University

Ahmed Al Khateeb is an associate professor at English Language Department at King Faisal University, Saudi Arabia. He holds a PhD in Applied Linguistics and Modern Languages from the University of Southampton in the UK. He is a winner of Fulbright scholarship and a visiting scholar at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. His research interests include technology-enhanced language learning (TELL), advanced learning technologies, AI and education, instructional design, e-learning, telecollaboration and language learning, intercultural communication and psychology of language learners and their cognitive behaviours.

Mohamed Hassan

Mohamed Hassan, PhD, is a senior lecturer in Arabic at the Dept. of Asian Languages and Civilizations at Amherst College, USA. His current research interests include critical discourse analysis, critical sociolinguistics and discourse theory. He was a visiting scholar at the Linguistics Department, UMass Amherst and taught at UMass Amherst and Smith College. He is a contributing editor of Metamorphoses, the Journal of the Five College Faculty Seminar on Literary Translation. His recent translations were published in The Common, and in Wasla magazine. He is a co-translator of African Folklore: An Encyclopedia into Arabic. His forthcoming book chapter is “Religious Minority Representation in Arabic Language” in The Routledge Handbook of Language and Religion. Routledge. Forthcoming in 2024.  


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How to Cite

Al Khateeb, A. A., & Hassan, M. (2023). Initiating Intercultural Communicative Competence through Telecollaboration: A Case of Language-Exchange Classrooms of Arabic and English. Journal of Ethnic and Cultural Studies, 10(4), 175–192.



Original Manuscript
Received 2023-05-29
Accepted 2023-09-13
Published 2023-09-25