Investigating Second Language Teachers’ Pragmatic Awareness through Intercultural Virtual Exchange

Investigating Second Language Teachers’ Pragmatic Awareness through Intercultural Virtual Exchange

In a context where knowledge and understanding are constructed through interaction and negotiation, research indicates that Intercultural Virtual Exchange (IVE) has come to be seen as one of the main pillars of intercultural studies and projects (O’Dowd, 2023). Within the realm of intercultural studies, pragmatic competence plays a crucial role in shaping the interpretation and performance of language use across cultural boundaries (McConachy & Liddicoat, 2016). Recent studies have shown that IVE directs participants’ attention and reflexivity on their own and their partners’ uses of second language (L2) pragmatic features and; thus, offers them the potential to develop their pragmatic awareness (Ishihara, 2007). The present presentation reports on an IVE project (the E-LIVE Erasmus+ project) between pre-service teachers of English and French as a second language (n=29) conducted between teacher training institutions in France and the Netherlands during Autumn 2023. The exchange was organized around four tasks to introduce participants to different synchronous and asynchronous tools and to virtual exchange task design as the main task. Drawing on data collected from pre- and post-exchange questionnaires focusing on L2 pragmatic competence, reflective post-tasks, and focus groups, our study presents initial results concerning French pre-service teachers’ pragmatic and meta-pragmatic awareness within this exchange project.

Our initial findings highlight the challenges faced by French pre-service teachers in defining pragmatic competence and engaging in pragmatics related reflective tasks which resulted in their concerns about its integration into their future teaching practices.




Ishihara, N. (2007). Web-based curriculum for pragmatics instruction in Japanese as a foreign language: An explicit awareness-raising approach. Language Awareness16(1), 21–40.

Kecskés, I. (2023). The Cambridge Handbook of Intercultural Pragmatics. Cambridge University Press.

McConachy, T., & Liddicoat, A. J. (2016). Meta-pragmatic awareness and intercultural competence: The role of reflection and interpretation in intercultural mediation. Intercultural Competence in Education, 13–30.

O’Dowd, R. (2023). Internationalising Higher Education and the role of Virtual Exchange. Routledge.