Integrating Intercultural Email Communication and the TV News in the Foreign Language Classroom
The purpose of this paper is to describe the benefits associated with the integration of email communication between native speakers (NS) and non-native speakers (NNS) and the Italian daily broadcast telegiornale in the context of foreign language learning. For one semester sixteen second year students of Italian at an Australian University participated in one-to-one email interactions with Italian NS and discussed a range of topics presented in the news. As part of the project learners also contributed to weekly oral discussions in class on relevant cultural issues emerging from both the telegiornale and the email interactions with the NS. Over the course of the semester students negotiated the content of both email and oral discussions with little intervention from the instructor aside from the requirements that the topics discussed were relevant to the Italian current situation and that communication took place entirely in the target language. This study profiles an integrated approach which provides a personal and cultural connection with contemporary Italian language and culture, encourages discussion and reflection on relevant issues, and increases students' interest in the target language culture.