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Academic Paper


Title: In two minds? Learner attitudes to bilingualism and the bilingual tandem analyser
Author: Peter Kapec
Institution: Fachhochschule Bonn-Rhein-Sieg
Author: Klaus Schwienhorst
Institution: Center for Language and Communications Studies at Trinity College Dublin
Linguistic Field: Applied Linguistics; Language Acquisition
Abstract: One of the issues that has been debated in the context of fairly open learning partnerships such as tandem learning has been whether and, if so, how much pedagogical support should be provided. Another issue is how do language learners who have grown accustomed to maximising their learning through comprehensible input and output make the transition to a reciprocal learning partnership where they are supposed to switch between the roles of learner and
expert or resource. The three principles behind tandem learning are bilingualism; reciprocity; and learner autonomy. At Trinity College Dublin we have conducted extensive research into tandem learning in object-oriented Multiple User Domains (MOOs) since 1998. Of the three tandem principles, we found that balanced bilingualism, where both languages are used equally in the
exchange, is difficult to achieve, particularly though not surprisingly in partnerships where L2 proficiency differs substantially.
We think that technology, at least in MOOs, can contribute towards a solution to the problem. The bilingual tandem analyser (BTA) analyses MOO input while users are communicating and gives feedback to learners (and possibly teachers) on bilingualism in the exchange. Here, we discuss what attitudes towards bilingualism learners bring towards the tandem exchange and how they react
to the BTA as a tool to monitor and regulate bilingualism: will learners perceive balanced bilingualism as a necessary principle of the partnership; what efforts do they make to keep the balance between the languages; how do they see the BTA: as an instrument of control, directed by the teacher; or do they perceive it as a useful tool to support their tandem exchanges?

CUP AT LINGUIST

This article appears IN ReCALL Vol. 17, Issue 2.

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