Abstract

This paper analyzes the effectiveness of Romanian-French tandem interactions according to the perception of a group of participants in the Tandems Linguistiques project organized by “Iuliu Haţieganu” University of Medicine and Pharmacy, Cluj-Napoca, Romania, with the support of the Agence Universitaire de la Francophonie. A total number of 40 feedback forms completed by undergraduate French and Romanian students enrolled in the project between 2012 and 2014 were analyzed quantitatively and qualitatively. The aim was to establish the overall impact of the project in line with the core principles of tandem language learning, as well as the obstacles, benefits and strategies employed by the participants, including their preferred methods of corrective feedback. Comparisons between the perceptions of the two groups of native students were also drawn. The results showed that the tandem project was perceived as a positive experience by most French and Romanian participants. The most frequently mentioned benefits were linguistic (vocabulary, pronunciation and grammar), followed by cultural benefits and human-level gains. Difficulty scheduling sessions, different levels of language proficiency resulting in an uneven use of the two languages and communication breakdown were the most frequently reported obstacles. The extra work carried out by the students in addition to the recommended worksheets was the most frequently reported learning strategy as well as the main benefit from a teaching perspective. The various ways of providing corrective feedback confirmed the multimodal character of this important activity within tandem interactions as well as the autonomy and resourcefulness of the investigated participants.

Keywords

Tandem language learning, Romanian-French tandems, Benefits, Obstacles, Strategies