Raising native cultural awareness through WeChat : a case study with Chinese EFL students

Research output: Journal Publications and Reviews (RGC: 21, 22, 62)21_Publication in refereed journalpeer-review

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Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)552-582
Number of pages31
Journal / PublicationComputer Assisted Language Learning
Issue number4
Online published26 Jun 2019
Publication statusPublished - 2021


This article reports the study of a novel way of raising tertiary-level students’ native cultural awareness (NCA) via an informal mobile learning community. Through two cycles of action research at a teacher-education university in East China, the study drew upon the Community of Practice (CoP) theory to form a synchronous English chat group. Students were encouraged to share their understandings and to construct knowledge of Chinese cultural topics with teacher guidance while using WeChat. To probe the students’ perceptions of how the WeChat learning community influenced cultural exchange and learning, chat logs, semi-structured interviews data and a teacher’s journal were analyzed. Findings suggest that the CoP concept played a positive role in raising NCA among the participants. Students became more willing to participate in their English chat community with a rise of trust and familiarity of group members over time. Students were motivated to use their personal, local and world knowledge through peer and multimodal discussions in order to share and learn new English expressions within a Chinese cultural context. Areas of improvement and pedagogical implications for building online CoPs with WeChat applications are discussed at the end of the article.

Research Area(s)

  • Native cultural awareness, synchronous chat, CoP, peer discussion