Podcasting Across Borders: Navigating and Negotiating Culturally Responsive Practice in Virtual Exchange

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Ching-Ching Lin
Stef Wu
Lorenzo Dumalina


In this study, we investigate the integration of collaborative podcasts as a task-based, process-oriented learning tool in a virtual exchange project, aiming to facilitate the development of an asset-based mindset and the cultivation of culturally responsive practices among a diverse student body on a Global North and Global South partnership. Specifically, this partnership program brought together US education major undergraduates and multilingual high school students from the Global South in a collaborative podcast project, which served as both a process and a culminating project.

        The research employed a mixed method, combining a semi-autoethnographical study by the first author, with contributions from the second and third authors in a qualitative research. Data were gathered from a virtual exchange program extended over a semester, spanning 15 weeks, involving both synchronous and asynchronous communication modes. The design of the virtual exchange program which culminated in a collaborative podcasting activity among students, followed a cyclical pattern, encompassing the stages of planning, discussions, collaborations, and reflections in each cycle to incorporate diverse agendas and perspectives from each group involved. This process unfolded through four key phases for each student group: 1) students getting to know each other, exploring common interests, and examining language backgrounds; 2) collaboratively devising a lesson plan where US students engaged as co-learners discovering, investigating, building and amplifying their global partners’ knowledge and skills navigating cultural differences; 3) producing a collaborative podcast addressing a cross-cultural topic; 4) reflecting on the virtual exchange process and outcomes through the lens of culturally responsive practices.

         Over the course of this virtual exchange program, both groups of students strived to delve into each other's strengths and cultural knowledge, while aiming to reflect on their own language ideologies and cultural presumptions. Research findings reveal a steady rise in the comfort level among students as they participated in successive meetings, gaining critical language awareness through collaborative tasks.

        This study underscores the necessity of approaching cross-cultural communication authentically and strategically in fostering culturally responsive practices. Incorporating a multimodal, process-oriented, sustainable virtual exchange consistently proves to be invaluable in supporting students in continuously developing their critical language awareness and intercultural competency skills. Through our study, we share our experiences in planning, facilitating, and supporting students in this process and offer valuable tips for implementing similar projects effectively.

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