From tandem learning to e-tandem learning: how languages are learnt in tandem exchanges

Lewis, Tim (2020). From tandem learning to e-tandem learning: how languages are learnt in tandem exchanges. In: Gola, Sabina; Pierrard, Michel; Tops, Evie and Van Raemdonck, Dan eds. Enseigner et apprendre les langues au XXIe siècle. Méthodes alternatives et nouveaux dispositifs d’accompagnement. GRAMM-R. Brussels: P.I.E. PETER LANG.




Tandem Language Learning draws on a long tradition of peer learning and teaching. Its key principles are autonomy and reciprocity. It can also claim to offer an authentic form of intercultural learning. In the digital age, it has continued to evolve in ways that have enabled successive generations of language learners to benefit from working in partnership. This chapter examines successive applications of Tandem Learning, considers how it has proved so versatile and explores the ways in which its core practices – including 50/50 dual language use and error correction by partners – contribute to its effectiveness as an approach to foreign language learning. In particular, the author argues that recurrence and relexicalisation are key drivers of learning in Tandem and E-Tandem. He suggests that Tandem exchanges are particularly well suited to developing everyday discourse management competence in the foreign language, including the ability to understand and make purposeful use of vagueness (a neglected feature of everyday conversation). He concludes by drawing a parallel between the learning mechanisms inherent in Tandem Learning and those associated with usage-based language acquisition theories.

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