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Handbook for Foreign Language Learning in Online Tandems and Educational Settings

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Edited By Hermann Funk, Manja Gerlach and Dorothea Spaniel-Weise

This book is about foreign language learning in non-formal Online Tandems. The collected papers by contributors who have expertise in the field of Language Pedagogy and Foreign Language Acquisition gather information on online interactions, such as the initiation of tandems, the mentoring of online activities and learners’ interaction, as well as the assessment of the processes at hand. The handbook targets stakeholders, institutions of higher education, language teachers and tandem trainers at educational institutions that want to set up Online Tandems especially designed for third language learners. The book is the result of the three-year project L3TASK carried out at five universities in Austria (Wien), Germany (Jena) and Spain (Alicante, Barcelona, Madrid) and associated partner institutions in China. It was funded by the European Commission in the frame of the Life Long Learning Programme.

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1.4 How to Stipulate Online Interactions? Task-Based Language Learning and the Design of Materials

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1.4 How to Stipulate Online Interactions? Task-Based Language Learning and the Design of Materials

In retrospect, it seems peculiar that the power of interaction as the driving force behind the quality, rate and route of language acquisition and the development of competence was discovered and put into a comprehensive theory (Schoormann/ Schlak 2007; Aguado 2010) comparatively late in the history of language acquisition research. It is certainly interaction that determines the quality of first language acquisition more than anything else. The absence of interaction leaves no room for the development of innate dispositions or universal grammar. Interaction, the personal exchange of ideas is the single most influential force behind all Tandem settings. The importance of the contribution of language learning materials of whatever kind is clearly a factor of minor importance. In the following text we will explore the possibilities of contributing to the quality of FL-interactions by means of language teaching materials.

It seems to be one of the basic assumptions of our trade that he or she who teaches is also able to design language learning materials. Certainly the drafting of worksheets, extra-exercises and the development of impromptu-tests as well as the preparation of extra-texts are part of everyday routines of language teachers of all languages. Frequently teachers are encouraged to publish materials and engage in the writing of textbooks.

The following chapter is also to question that assummption by stating principles and standards of the design of language learning materials which...

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