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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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2.1 Identifying Language Needs at the Workplace: Aligning the Needs of Language Learners with the Language Needs of Companies (Susanne Lesk / Martin Stegu)

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Susanne Lesk, Martin Stegu Vienna University of Economics and Business (WU)

2.1 Identifying Language Needs at the Workplace: Aligning the Needs of Language Learners with the Language Needs of Companies

Abstract: This chapter focuses on language needs (i.e. needs of language learners and language needs of companies) in order to identify the most crucial language skills in an occupational context. We take up the concept of ‘domain experts’ (employees as language learners as well as experts on workplace communication) and utilise these as the principal sources of information on companies’ language needs. The paper further investigates whether these language needs can be partly met by using the pedagogical concept of third language (L3) learning via eTandems. In our empirical study we chose the field of multinational companies. Within it, we examined expectations and experiences from two perspectives – those of the employee and the employer – in order to gain insights enabling the development of realistic tasks, that is, appropriate communicative scenarios, for eTandems. The paper concludes with a list of recommended measures when planning, designing and implementing eTandems.

1 Introduction: language needs at the workplace

In (foreign) language education, language needs are usually defined as a gap between the learner’s current proficiency in a certain language (status quo) and what should be reached in terms of linguistic competences and performances as a desirable or necessary future goal (Brindley 1989, 65; Huhta 2010, 33). In this context, applied linguists still focus mainly on the...

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