Towards crossing the borders in foreign language teacher training: A report on a pilot phase of the Tandem Learning for Teacher Training project
The aim of the paper is to present the results of a pilot project for foreign language (FL) teacher education, in which trainee teachers’ knowledge and awareness of intercultural and cross-educational similarities and differences between two cooperating institutions from socio-culturally and linguistically distant countries – Israel and Poland – are elicited. The data collected serves as a springboard for designing an international project for FL trainee teachers to be implemented as a part of a teacher training course. In the project the trainee teachers coming from geographically, culturally and linguistically detached backgrounds, Israeli and Polish, are to participate in tandem learning understood as paired sessions of knowledge and experience exchange between FL trainee teachers via online communicators. The pilot phase, therefore, is an initial but indispensable stage evaluating the extent to which trainee teachers are ready to confront and share their educational background, cultural and linguistic knowledge with their peers from a geographically and socio-culturally distant country. A group of fourteen trainee teachers of Opole University participated in the pilot project measuring the participants’ readiness to engage in crossing the aforementioned borders with the help of a closed and open-item questionnaire focusing on the degrees of awareness of a number of aspects, for instance, culture and L1-based differences in approaching FL teaching. The application of the instrument generated quantitative and qualitative data, whose analysis supported the design of the final Tandem Learning Teacher Training (TLTT) program.
FL teacher training; intercultural awareness; tandem learning