Academic e-tandems as a strategy for English language learning in a Mexican university

Dan Isai Serrato, Brenda Cecilia Padilla Rodriguez


E-tandems, or virtual synchronous exchanges, offer opportunities for language learners to practice their skills with native speakers. While they are regularly conducted informally, some institutions are exploring their academic use. This paper reports on the experience of eight students who were learning English at a public university in Mexico. They connected via Skype with a group of peers who were taking a Spanish course in the United Kingdom. Data sources included field notes taken during the e-tandem session, a follow-up survey and a focus group. Participants reported feeling motivated and excited about meeting students from another country. They practiced their oral language skills and received feedback directly from native speakers. Their learning included nonverbal communication, such as hand gestures. Participants discovered cultural differences but also common ground with their peers. The e-tandem experience was an effective strategy for foreign language learning.


e-tandem; motivation; oral communication skills; cultural learning; foreign language learning

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