Teletandem and the Pre-Sessional student: a useful relationship?

Will Hutton, a Teaching Fellow from Queen Mary University of London, is going to talk about tandem learning.

This talk will describe and assess a collaborative project carried out in the summer of 2016 between the Language Centre, Queen Mary University of London and the Department of Modern Languages, UNESP-Assis, Brazil which sought to make use of Teletandem Language Learning encounters in order to create a space for a group of postgraduate Pre-sessional students to reflect on their transition into UK higher education through a negotiation of knowledge and understanding of academic culture. Tandem Language Learning, a pedagogic practice which can be traced back to the 1970s, rests on two core principles: reciprocity and autonomy. Teletandem refers to technology-mediated Tandem Learning, which in this case was achieved through the use of Skype and Mahara.

The initial hypothesis was that Teletandem had the potential to create a distinct space where UK-based international students would be able to reflect on their transition to UK higher education and negotiate their identity in a new academic culture while for those in Brazil it would provide an opportunity to gain an understanding of academic culture in the UK in order to prepare for internationalization, which is a strategic objective for UNESP. The starting point was that mediated discussion with the Teletandem partner in Brazil would facilitate reflection on academic culture and the challenge of transition through a series of staged interactions. This talk will outline some of the challenges involved in establishing a collaborative Teletandem project of this kind, how the project was designed and implemented and whether our initial hypothesis, namely that Teletandem could create a new space for UK Pre-sessional students to usefully reflect on their transition into UK higher education, had merit.

The slides of the presentation are available here [PDF].


will-huttonWill Hutton has taught at the Language Centre, Queen Mary University of London since 2005. During his time at Queen Mary, Will has developed a particular interest in developing transferable skills for foundation level students and the teaching of English for Academic Purposes to students in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) subjects. You can find out more about him on his University profile website.


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