Integrating Intercultural Communicative Competence into Teaching Arabic as a Multidialectal Language Through Telecollaboration


  • Reham Abuemira University of South Florida


intercultural communicative language, Arabic as a foreign language, telecollaboration


Arabic as a foreign language (AFL) teachers and learners face many challenges due to the diglossic nature of the Arabic language (Sneed, 2012). In Arabic, there is a “high” variety also called Modern Standard Arabic (MSA), and “low” vernacular varieties. Despite the importance of both vernacular varieties and MSA, there has been a call for a multidialectal approach to address learners’ goals and desires and to prepare learners with the skills needed in the real-life, authentic language used in everyday situations (Trentman & Shiri, 2020). Language is complexly intertwined with culture; thus, it is also important to develop learners’ intercultural communicative competence (hencforth, ICC) to allow AFL learners understand and use Arabic dialects and MSA to communicate appropriately and effectively (Bassiouney, 2009). Intercultural Communicative Competence allows interlocutors to understand communication ethics, develop critical thinking, improve cultural awareness, and communicate successfully with representatives of the target language cultures. There has been a constant call for new approaches to teaching the Arabic language and culture (Al-Batal, 1992; Alosh 1997; Dahbi, 2004; Wilmsen, 2006). One of the untraditional ways that must be considered is telecollaboration projects. Integrating telecollaboration with an appropriate pedagogical foundation can enhance the quality of AFL teaching and learning experiences and help students become linguistically and culturally competent (O’Dowd, 2016). In this paper, the author explores ways in moving away from the traditional representation of culture and closer to innovative methods in which technology can support AFL teachers and learners as they seek to learn dialects and understand the target culture through language. In particular, this paper shares telecollaboration tools that have been studied in teaching languages. Based on existing literature, this paper proceeds by reporting the affordances of using telecollaboration and ways of overcoming these challenges.

Author Biography

Reham Abuemira, University of South Florida

Reham Abuemira, a Ph.D. candidate in the Technology in Education and Second Language Acquisition program at the University of South Florida, previously taught Arabic to undergraduates, and she is currently a research assistant. Her research interest focuses on leveraging technology to promote students’ intercultural communicative competence and linguistic gains.