Facilitating a Face-to-Face Tandem Language Exchange on a University Campus

Batardiere, Marie-Therese and Jeanneau, Catherine (2015) Facilitating a Face-to-Face Tandem Language Exchange on a University Campus. Studies in Self-Access Learning Journal, 6 (3). pp. 288-299.


As the 21st century progresses and the internationalisation of higher education is gaining momentum, encouraging students' intercultural communication has become of paramount significance. A Tandem Language Exchange (TLE) is among a number of initiatives taken by the Language Learning Hub (LLH) at the University of Limerick (UL) to bring together foreign and home students. The TLE takes place in both semesters of the academic year, attracting over two hundred students including UL undergraduates and some postgraduates as well as international students of many nationalities. It is offered across faculties (Humanities, Business, Education, and Engineering) to students with levels of second language competence ranging from elementary to advanced. Drawing on the empirical data collected at various stages of the TLE, this study first looks at some of the organisational and pedagogical challenges encountered during 15-years of experience of pairing foreign and home students. It then presents the various means of support that the LLH has put into place to raise cultural awareness and encourage linguistic diversity among students. Finally, it puts forward some recommendations for implementing this type of peer-to-peer language exchange in university settings.

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