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Handbook for Foreign Language Learning in Online Tandems and Educational Settings


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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3.2 The Role of Guidance as a Factor for Tandem Organisation(Kateryna Kremenchuk / Yan Li)


Kateryna Kremenchuk, Yan LiUniversity of Vienna

3.2 The Role of Guidance as a Factor for Tandem Organisation

Abstract: In this paper we argue against the common belief and practice of eTandems being an “add-on” (O’Dowd 2011, 368) to the foreign language education. With the examples from a Chinese-German blended eTandem programme (one of the L3TASK project programmes), we demonstrate the challenges to establishing long term eTandem projects and possibilities of integrating the eTandem learning model into language curricula. Based on the qualitative data of students’ learning journals, feedback reports, questionnaires, audio-video recordings and teachers’ research journal, we propose guidelines for initiating and conducting institutional eTandem programmes. Our study suggests that the teachers’ guidance plays a crucial role for carrying out successful eTandem projects. Further, pedagogical implications in regard to the eTandem learning approach and specific issues for Chinese-German eTandem course organisation are discussed.

1 Introduction

The eTandem method refers to two native speakers of different languages communicating with each other using various online tools with the goal of learning each other’s language. This method has proven to be valuable for L2/FL learning and cultural awareness development (Brammerts 2005, Cziko 2004, Wang/ Tian 2013). Engaging language learners into online exchange programmes does not only help to increase the level of authenticity in classroom practices, but it also develops students’ communicative competences (O’Dowd 2011, Belz 2003). Further, it strengthens the connection between ‘classroom teaching’ and ‘fieldwork’ in foreign language education. Despite these advantages, the...

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