Interactional competence in the online space: Affordances, challenges and opportunities for TESOL practitioners

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Interactional competence (IC) is a concept gaining growing currency in language learning, teaching and assessment. First proposed by Kramsch (1986), IC focuses on developing second language (L2) speakers’ abilities to use language for functional purposes, ranging from “survival as a tourist or a student to negotiating treaties” (p. 366). The conceptualization of language competence as an ability for use differentiates IC from traditional understanding of proficiency, which consists of componential, de-contextualized ability indicators such as lexical range, grammatical soundness, and pronunciation. The ethos of IC emphasizes that language teaching education needs to focus on cultivating L2 speakers’ abilities to use their linguistic resources (e.g., vocabulary and grammar) to achieve meaningful social actions in real-world interactional contexts.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-7
Number of pages7
JournalTESOL in Context
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2022


  • interactional competence
  • computer mediated communication
  • online
  • conversation analysis
  • tesol
  • English as a second language

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