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Conference Information

Full Title: Tandem Language and Intercultural Learning in Higher or Secondary Education Settings

Short Title: ALCTES
Location: Paris, France
Start Date: 23-Mar-2017 - 24-Mar-2017
Contact: Claire Tardieu
Meeting Email: click here to access email
Meeting URL:
Meeting Description: The ALCTES* International Conference will address the issue of how Tandem language and culture learning can be integrated in higher and secondary education environments and how the founding principles of autonomy and reciprocity are adapted according to various learning contexts and objectives.

The origins of tandem language and intercultural learning can be traced back to collaborative practices introduced by the Franco-German Youth Office (L’Office Franco-Allemand de la Jeunesse – OFAJ) after the Second World War, which aimed at fostering cooperation between young French and German people through linguistic and cultural exchanges. The work of Brammerts (Bochum University, 1993, 2003, 2006) and Calvert (University of Sheffield, 2001) led to further development of this approach throughout Europe. Their Lingua D project, initiated in the late 1990’s, set out to extend the tandem approach from universities to secondary schools in France (Reymond, Tardieu, 1998), Germany, the UK and Spain.

Research conducted by Brigitte Helmling (2002, 2003) also contributed to consolidating this practice and establishing it in universities and specialist higher education institutions in support of student mobility across different European countries (more specifically, Germany,Spain, the UK, Romania and France).

Tandem learning is based on two main principles: autonomy, whereby learners are responsible for defining their own objectives and how and when they will exchange following Holec’s definition, 1981) and reciprocity, which demands a commitment from learners to use both languages equally whether it be in face-to-face or distance learning settings or for written or oral exchanges. The tandem approach also implies that the two partners will seek to learn or improve their mastery of each other’s culture and language.

However, it is clear that these original principles are not always adhered to when contextual factors and constraints are taken into account (the composition and profile of student cohorts, availability of native speakers, etc.). It is relevant to consider the integration of tandem learning in terms of a continuum ranging from total respect for the founding principles to somewhat wider interpretations.

*(Apprentissage des Langues et Cultures en Tandem dans l'Enseignement Supérieur)
Linguistic Subfield: Applied Linguistics; Language Acquisition; Psycholinguistics; Sociolinguistics
LL Issue: 28.761

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