Teletandem Brasil: Foreign languages for all

I help you learn my language and you help me learn yours!

Language learning in tandem involves pairs of native or non-nativespeakers of different languages working collaboratively to learn each other’s language. Teletandem Brasil matches up Brazilian university students who wish to learn a foreign language, with students in other countries who are learning Portuguese.

With tandem language learning, each partner is a student for one hour, learning and practising a language from the other partner. Then they switch roles and switch languages. We do this through Skype that give us free voice and video communication plus text, so the partners can be anywhere in the world.

  • a sum of opposites, such as sociability and individualization
  • a collaborative joint endeavor with a partner aimed at learning a foreign language
  • a global balanced context within which partners’ relationships can relay roles of power
  • a context within which one can take responsibility of and socialize learning in reciprocal and autonomous ways
  • a context within which one can exercise autonomy and manage one’ s own learning process
  • a context with space for one’ s pleasurable relationship
  • a joint endeavor that consists of regular meetings extended over a specific time period.

Main Focus:

Intercultural Exchange

Exchange institution(s):

UNESP – Universidade Estadual Paulista

Project website:

Teletandem Brasil

Language Configurations:


Language(s) used:


Dominant form of language production:

Speaking/listening synchronous

Target Competences:

Intercultural Skills


How long did the project last?

It has been going since September 2006.

The Project Teletandem Brazil is now called Teletandem and Tranculturality.

How was the project organized?


Task types:

How were the students assessed?

Additional resources:

What worked well?

Currently, the project is being implemented in junior and high schools of the State of São Paulo, Brazil.

We have succeded in (a) describing processes of interaction in teletandem (b) describing the role of online interaction when promoting intercultural and language exchange and (c) processes of teacher-mediation of teletandem sessions through doctorate and master theses, paper publication in journals and workshops throughout many countries in Europe and in the United Stated.


Partnerships with institutions abroad is the backbone of this project, particularly now, when we are trying to implement teletandem sessions in the public school system of the State of São Paulo with the support of the São Paulo State Board of Education in Brazi.


The academic results of the project as well as publications in the media can be found at:


Videos about students’ opinion can be accessed at:

What did students think of the project?


They welcome the project enthusiasticaly. See an example in

What challenges did you face?


1. Finding partner institutions abroad who had classes of Portuguese as a Foreign Language to collaborate with us.


2. Finding partner institutions abroad who are willing to do &quot cultural teletandem&quot (teletandem conducted in one single language where the exchange lies in target language x cultural information about the country)


3. Consistency in collaboration. That means, collaboration not in a single semester but throughout the years. Currently, we have about six universities abroad who collaborate with us for over 4 years.

What did the teachers think of the project?


1. Foreign language teachers are usually resistant to teletandem sessions

2. They wish to learn how to evaluate students’ progress and the results of teletandem sessions (usually measurable)

What kind of institutional support did you receive?


The project will funded by FAPESP – São Paulo State Foundation for the Support of Research. Currently, we are seeking support for the second phase of the project (implementation of teletandem sessions in junior and high schools 14 – 17 year old students).