Transforming Versus Repressing the Self and the Other in Virtual Language Learning and Teaching
This chapter focuses on the notion of transforming otherness within the field of education, and more specifically in the area of language learning and teaching (LLT). It also focuses on virtual academic mobility involving students of French from Hong Kong University and the University of Turku. Many criticisms can be leveled at models of intercultural competence which have been proposed by researchers within LLT and other fields. The concept of Culturespeak, which was coined, amongst others by Ulf Hannerz describes the automatic and uncritical way of talking about the polysemic and catch-all concept of culture, in its anthropological meaning. The choice of verbs used to express what is involved in intercultural competence highlights differences between conceptions of Finnish and Hong Kong students. Most of the extracts show that proteophilia was not always present, despite the Turku students having been trained to go beyond "culturespeak"/culturalist discourses-most of them actually resorted to the latter when interacting with their counterparts from Hong Kong.