Katherine Thornton

Otemon Gakuin University


Associate Professor, Learning Advisor and Program Director of English Cafe at Otemon (E-CO) self-access centre.


Learner Development Addressing basic psychological needs through a teletandem language exchange more

Sat, Jul 9, 14:40-15:05 Asia/Tokyo

Even before the Covid-19 pandemic, educators have been using telecommunication tools to facilitate collaboration between students in different locations. This telecollaboration can be particularly productive for language learning, as learners of two different languages can be paired for a supportive language exchange project, which provides opportunities for authentic language communication which may be otherwise hard to find. This kind of virtual language exchange is called teletandem. In this presentation, research findings will be shared from a longitudinal extracurricular teletandem project between students at a university in Japan who are learning English, and those studying Japanese at partner institutions. Several students were interviewed 6 months after taking part in the teletandem exchange, to investigate 1) how they conducted the exchange and negotiated language use with their partner, and 2) how the experience of joining the exchange has influenced their experience of learning their target language. By applying concepts from self-determination theory (Deci & Ryan, 1985) to the interview data, the project investigates to what extent a teletandem exchange may enhance intrinsic motivation to learn a language by supporting learners’ basic psychological needs.

Katherine Thornton