VCU has an opportunity to be a pioneer in developing the Teletandem method. Teletandem will bring distinction to the VCU foreign language curriculum by transforming an antiquated model of language learning and enhancing traditional language instruction, not replacing it. In addition, Teletandem may open new opportunities to cooperate with partner schools in creative ways that could potentially supplement learning in other subject areas such as international studies, anthropology, religion, homeland security, health and medicine, and engineering and science.
The WSMC staff is prepared to explore Teletandem and find new ways of routinizing collaborative peer-to-peer learning in higher education through the use of innovative telecommunication technologies in higher education.
The project’s aim is to empower the School of World Studies' (SWS) faculty to deliver excellence in foreign language instruction at VCU through technology, innovation, and international cooperation. The initiative will have a significant and sustained impact toward preparing students to master less commonly taught languages at VCU such as Portuguese and Chinese. By bringing Teletandem partnerships into VCU classrooms through teleconferencing and social video sharing, SWS will be poised to deliver world-class learning experiences that foster discovery and innovation in a global setting. The project is in alignment with the QUEST themes and goals and with the teaching mission of SWS. Innovative learning activities like Teletandem create new opportunities for meaningful student and teacher online exchanges with foreign schools. Teletandem is a high-impact learning activity that prompts learners to experience emotions, pleasure, and humor in the exchange of experiences. It can also produce feelings of tension, competition, and frustration. These are innately human feelings implicated in the language acquisition process. The interactive nature of Teletandem, at the very least, gives students a rich learning experience, and enables them to achieve the goals outlined in the National Foreign Language Proficiency Standards established by the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages.