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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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2.7 Enhanced Language Learning in Non-Formal Tandems (Mireia Calvet Creizet / Javier Orduña)

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Mireia Calvet Creizet, Javier Orduña University of Barcelona

2.7 Enhanced Language Learning in Non-Formal Tandems

Abstract: In this paper we argue for the significance of spoken interaction skills for an effective learning experience in non-formal Online Tandems. Particularly in the unstable early phases of partnership consolidation, non-formal Tandems are more dependent than formal ones on their ability to understand each other in the sense of interpreting meaning in an observant, unbiased way, rather than in the sense of being more or less proficient in each other’s L1. Later on, as in the case of formal Tandems, they will depend on their abilities to effectively help each other to understand. Consequently, meta-linguistic skills are required for phases of greater acquaintance between the participants. Systematic gathering (all examples are taken from a corpus of transcribed synchronous voice-based German-Spanish online interactions) and qualitative analysis (applying Conversation Analysis (CA)) of language-related episodes (learners’ talk on L3-talk) have provided the basis for making inferences about the conversational behaviour of Tandem partners. As a result, recommendations are made for enhancing the benefits that persistent and spontaneous language-related episodes can afford to learners during interaction. Beyond task-based cooperation and collaboration, we propose to conceive of the talk as a task by itself. According to this, our recommendations are meant to promote a sense of agency (Hunter/ Cooke 2007; Ahearn 2010; Little/ Erickson 2015) in the course of conversations. They should raise the participants’ awareness for meaningful interaction within a rather social than...

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