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FAME- Facilitating autonomy and motivation through using e-tandems in foreign language teaching at school

Sparkling Science - project (FA 600002)

 Funding sponsor: BMWFW

 Term: 2014-2016

 Project coordination: Zentrum für LehrerInnenbildung / Sprachlehr- und -lernforschung (University of Vienna)

 Project management: Eva Vetter

 Scientific project team:  Julia Renner,  Elisabeth Fink, Yasmin El-Hariri
German teachers at our partner institutions: Marie-Luise Volgger (VBS Hamerlingplatz, Vienna), Dominique David (Vannes, Frankreich), Adriana Angulo Ospina (Bogotá, Kolumbien), Ulrike Hauptmann (contact person in Medellín, Kolumbien)

Brief description:

The FAME project brought together researchers from Vienna University and pupils of the Vienna Business School Hamerlingplatz in collaborative research on the use of e-tandems in foreign language teaching at school.

The aim was to establish partnerships (i.e. tandems) between pupils of one French and one Spanish class with German-learning students of the Lycée François Xavier (France) and the Universidad EAN (Colombia), respectively, using synchronous audio/video-based online communication. These e-tandems were integrated into the foreign language teaching at the respective partner institutions and scientifically supervised throughout the entire duration of the project.

The aim of the project was to study how the complementary use of e-tandems in foreign language teaching in an institutional setting can facilitate the autonomy and motivation of language learners. Beyond this, the development of the participating pupils’ awareness of language(s) was at the heart of our interest, inasmuch as they learned to engage with the linguistic performance of their respective tandem partners and to reflect processes of language learning. 

The empirical study employed qualitative methods. Amongst others, group discussions were conducted with the pupils in order to document their subjective perceptions of the learning setting under investigation. The pupils were research partners throughout the entire project, as the research process itself was continuously tied to them. Thus, the young learners constituted an integral part of the project, beginning with the project presentation and preparation in workshops, continuing through the joint development and evaluation of motivation- and autonomy-supporting exercises for e-tandems, to the analysis of the conversational data collected. Thus, the pupils had ample opportunity to gain insights into the techniques and processes of scientific work.

At the conclusion of the project, we published a book which containes a collection of exercises as well as scientific articles about the project and field reports of some students.


Partner schools:

VBS Hamerlingplatz, Vienna

France Lycée Saint-Francois-Xavier, Vannes

Scientific cooperation partner:

Universidad EAN, Bogotá, Colombia

Partner of business and society:

Centro Cultural Austriaco, Medellín, Colombia

University of Vienna

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