Assessment of the Socio-perceptive Component of Intercultural Competence: A Pilot Study of Russian Students' View of Americans
AbstractThis article describes a pilot study of changes in Russian students' stereotyped views of Americans resulting from their involvement in intercultural interaction. Exactness of perception of an intercultural communication partner is considered to be an index of the socio-perceptive component of intercultural competence (Kupavskaya, 2008; Sadokhin, 2009). This index indicates the effectiveness of students' participation in the Global Understanding course (Chia, Poe, & Yang, 2011). Seven students of Ural State Pedagogical University aged 18-20 years old participated in the study. The Global Understanding course, which lasted for four weeks, consisted of intercultural communication between Russian and American students. The students discussed culturally-relevant topics such as college life, cultural traditions, and family, the meaning of life, and stereotypes and prejudices. Each class session included live discussion in small video groups, one-to-one keyboard chat and e-mailing. To assess the shifts in Russian students' views of Americans, the authors employed a projective technique of constructing "Collages" (Minyurova, 2002). This technique enables the researcher to reconstruct a person's subjective attitude to objects and events of the surrounding world in a symbolic form. Russian students made two collages during local classes, one prior to videoconferencing with American students and one a week after. Collages made before the links reflected the following image of American students: attention to physical shape; significance of studies, work, and rest; individualism; comfortable life conditions. The authors used two major characteristics to assess the changes in perception: completeness and personification of images. The paper discusses reasons why the hypothesized changes were not statistically significant.
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