EUROCALL 2014

Full Program »

Balancing the unbalance: a telecollaboration project between language learners and pre-service teachers

Telecollaboration projects for language learning have been mainly focused on “developing FL competency, intercultural awareness and e-literacies” (Dooly & O’Dowd, 2012:11). Class-to-class exchanges commonly involve students in different locations to engage in regular encounters to practise their foreign language skills and gain experience of intercultural collaboration.

The telecollaboration project presented here has been given a twist to this more typical conception since it involves, at one end, learners of Spanish studying their Bachelors Degree in the Netherlands and at the other, teacher trainees of Spanish studying their Masters Degree in Spain. Although there are few experiences of telecollaboration projects between language learners with different objectives (e.g. Canto, S.; Jauregi, K. and van den Bergh, H. 2013), this telecollaboration projects is the first to attempt to pair language learners and pre-service language teachers. The two participant groups have different main learning goals: one wants to learn Spanish and the other wants to learn how to teach it.

Furthermore, this task-based project also seeks to integrate telecollaboration into the curriculum of both programmes. For the language learners, on the one hand, the exchanges aim at improving their communicative skills and their intercultural competences in such a way to prepare them for their stay abroad. The teacher trainees, on the other hand, benefit from the fact that they have real students with whom they put digital tasks in practice as part of their curriculum.

There are a number of crucial features to consider in course design for a successful telecollaboration project. One of them is the principle of reciprocity (Little & Brammerts, 1996), which implies reciprocal dependence and mutual support of each partner. Although the two groups’ main learning purpose was different, they had a point in common: the developing of their digital communicative competence through real exchanges online.

This paper presents an overview of this telecollaboration project during the second semester of the course 2013-2014. The underlying pedagogic rationale and issues of planning and implementing this ‘unbalance-in-principle’ telecollaboration project will be discussed.

Author(s):

Juan Alba    
European Languages and Cultures
Rijksuniversiteit Groningen
Netherlands

Carolina Fernández    
European Languages and Cultures
Rijksuniversiteit Groningen
Netherlands

Gerdientje Oggel    
European Languages and Cultures
Rijksuniversiteit Groningen
Netherlands

Joan-Tomàs Pujola    
Didàctica de la Llengua i la Literatura
Universitat de Barcelona
Spain

 

Powered by OpenConf®
Copyright ©2002-2013 Zakon Group LLC