Language exchange programs such as Tandem Plus aim to create opportunities for language learners to practice and improve their second languages by pairing fluent speakers with learners; but what opportunities for learning are actually presented and taken up by participants? Through my participation in Tandem Plus, I formed a strong friendship with my language exchange partner; our conversations often delved into emotional topics as well as switched frequently between our two strongest languages, English and Mandarin Chinese. In this self-study, I analyzed an excerpt of a recorded conversation between my Tandem partner and myself in order to answer the following questions: (1) In bilingual conversation, including deep personal exchanges, between my language partner and myself, were there opportunities for me to learn Chinese? (2) When there were opportunities, did I take up and use the new Chinese? In each case, why/why not? Findings show that opportunities for learning did exist, but were not always taken up, and that I seemed less likely to take up new language the more emotionally invested I was in the topic. Although this is a very limited study, there are implications for educators and learners seeking to improve language through partner conversations.
1 online resource (PDF, 80 pages). Plan B paper submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the Master of Arts in TESOL for Higher Education, Second Language Education, Department of Curriculum & Instruction
Opportunities for Language Learning in Bilingual Conversation: A Study in Language Exchange Partnership.
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