Mediating Language Learning in Virtual Exchanges: The Role of the Teacher in Institutional Integrated Teletandem


Virtual exchange is an approach to teaching and learning in which groups of learners from different countries work virtually and collaboratively with the support of a teacher over an extended period of time (O´Dowd, 2008). This paper aims at discussing the professor´s dual role in a bilingual model of virtual exchange, the institutional integrated teletandem (iiTTD) model (Aranha, Cavalari, 2014), which is integrated into the foreign language syllabus. In this hybrid approach, the professor both teaches a foreign language in regular face-to-face lessons and mediates virtual autonomous and collaborative learning in teletandem. The concept of mediation (Telles, 2015) refers to the pedagogical support that teachers offer to teletandem participants. This support can be offered in varied ways. In the context we focus on, mediation is carried out both in the face-to-face lessons and through learning diaries that participants write on a weekly basis, after the teletandem oral session. The main purpose of writing diaries is to offer participants opportunities to reflect upon their learning experience in teletandem. We examine how a Brazilian teacher uses learners’ diaries to mediate language learning in iiTTD. We analyse data produced by English as a foreign language (EFL) participants, collected during eight weeks of an institutional integrated teletandem cohort between a Brazilian and a British university. Data analysis reveals that the professor´s mediation through diaries seems to contribute to language learning in the classroom and, by the same token, EFL lessons can aid in autonomous telecollaborative learning.

Author Information
Solange Aranha, UNESP (Sao Paolo State University), Brazil
Suzi Spatti Cavalari, UNESP (Sao Paolo State University), Brazil

Paper Information
Conference: ACL2021
Stream: Language Learning and Teaching

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Posted by James Alexander Gordon