Bringing Awareness About Differences Between Teacher-Partners While Designing and Implementing Telecollaborations
Feitosa de Carvalho, E.
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Considering the added values of implementing telecollaborative tasks in language classrooms and the need to prepare language learners to become global citizens (Kalsbeek, 2008; Jauregi, 2013), it is important to consider the wellbeing of language teachers interested in “integrating telecollaboration in their teaching” (Canto et al., 2013). The identification of issues that may hinder interactions among teachers while working in international telecollaboration is very important because it may bring awareness of what can be expected while working collaboratively with teacher-partners. This research was informed by mixed-methods deductions to identify these issues. Quantitative and qualitative data have been collected and the triangulation of three sets of data was conducted to provide a clear view of how teachers experience teamwork in virtual exchanges. Results identified several issues that may hinder interactions among teachers: Teachers with and without extensive teaching experience do not command the same level of competencies that a telecollaborative teacher should have “to carry out an online intercultural exchange with their learners” (O’Dowd, 2013, p. 1; see also Byram, 1997), the lack of work experience abroad may have a negative impact in the behavior of language teachers while interacting with colleagues from other cultures and may be linked with a lack of ICC. Additionally, differences in the amount of support telecollaborators receive from colleagues and educational institutions may also impact relationships among teacher-partners, the outcome of telecollaborations and how teachers experience international exchanges. More or less time to design, implement and carry out telecollaborations, can also play a role in teachers’ participation in international virtual exchanges. The different opinions about the importance of teaching certain language skills and sub skills in the classroom may be motivated by contextual factors caused by issues with the use of technology in the classroom and teachers’ beliefs about teaching these skills.