Georgetown Teletandem Initiative: New Horizons

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In 2006, Dr. Telles created a pioneering project of telecollaboration in Latin America and the world – Teletandem: Foreign languages for all ( (new window)). The project aimed at providing equal access to foreign languages and cultures to socially and economically disadvantaged students at São Paulo State University (UNESP). Dr. Telles, a tandem learner of Italian language himself, transferred the principles of face-to-face foreign language learning in tandem (autonomy, reciprocity and one language at a time) to the virtual, interactive and collaborative context of learning foreign languages – a teletandem. That was done by the new (at the time) text, voice and webcam image resources of VOIP technology of the Windows Live Messenger.

Dr. Telles has been a visiting professor, workshop leader and lecturer in several universities in the Americas, Asia and Europe in the areas of CALL, transcultural communication & discourse and foreign-language learning in teletandem. He was a visiting professor at the Universitè Charles-de-Gaulle, Lille III, France (2003) and at Georgetown University (2014-15). For twenty years, as an Associate Professor, he was in charge of the Foreign Language Teaching Practicum for the School of Education at the State University of São Paulo-Assis. He taught in the Graduate Program of Language Studies, UNESP – Rio Preto where he supervised several Master dissertations and Ph.D. theses. He has a Ph.D. in Educational Linguistics from OISE – Ontario Institute for Studies in Education, University of Toronto, Canada, and a MA in Applied Linguistics (Foreign Language Acquisition) from the Catholic University of São Paulo, Brazil.

This session will have a brief introduction to teletandem as well as activities and research being currently carried out at Georgetown and UNESP. Dr. Telles will present on the concepts of performativity and transculturality as future alternative guidelines for foreign language teachers to grapple issues of cultures and expression of national identities in students’ telecollaboration through teletandem. The lecture may also be of interest to those whose work on and research developing students’ awareness of transcultural discourse. There will be ample time for discussion about teletandem and telecollaboration.