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Handbook for Foreign Language Learning in Online Tandems and Educational Settings


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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2.2 Principles of Tandem Interaction – Reciprocity (Lennart T. Koch)


Lennart T. Koch University of Oviedo

2.2 Principles of Tandem Interaction – Reciprocity

Abstract: In this article reciprocity is presented as a main phenomenon for communication and social construction. As such it is much more important for Tandem as it has usually been perceived. The different meanings of the term are discussed in several scientific fields which are relevant for reciprocity in language learning in order to put forward a definition which goes beyond the understanding of a Tandem principle and serves as a basis for further debate. Finally, we turn back to Tandem and see the consequences the new concept of reciprocity has for practice and investigation. Five dimensions describe the key aspects of reciprocity in Tandem of which only two are related to the former principle which complemented the autonomy principle as a norm of conduct.

1 From a Principle to a definition to a Principle

Research on the concept of reciprocity in Tandem is nearly non-existent: compared to the debate on autonomy, it is striking to see that one of the pillars of the definition of Tandem attracted so little interest. Semantically speaking, half of the basis assumption for the definition of Tandem is built on a kind of vacuum. The existing empirical research is not constructed on solid ground due to a lack of explanation of the term itself, because of a missing definition of reciprocity. Therefore, the main aim of this article is to describe not only how...

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