Task-based pragmatic interventions and intercultural communicative competency : a comparison of students in a short-term study abroad program with the home university
This dissertation examines the role targeted in-class interventions play in the development of pragma-linguistic, morpho-syntactic and intercultural communicative competency (ICC) gains in undergraduate students. The data in the current study come from two different groups of students enrolled in third-semester lower-division German at the University of Texas at Austin (UT). The experimental or study abroad (SA) group is made up of 18 UT undergraduates who studied abroad for 10 weeks in Würzburg, Germany and the control or at home (AH) group consists of 18 UT undergraduates who stayed on the home campus. These groups present a parallel data set, as they have similar backgrounds and demographic information, thus creating a direct comparison between program type: study abroad versus the home institution. The data from this study suggest that through guided interventions and reflections, both groups of students made gains in the areas of pragma-linguistics, morpho-syntax and ICC, with the SA participants showing more significant improvement. The results from this study are important to the fields of second language acquisition, study abroad, and curriculum development. Further, the data suggest that the gains produced by digital learning are not as meaningful as those resulting from experiential learning.