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Virtual exchange, a teaching practice that incorporates online communication technologies to link remotely located partner classes for interaction and collaboration, is a rich site for fostering second language development, intercultural competence, and digital skills (EVALUATE report, 2019). A crucial component in virtual exchange is the role of the teacher as a pedagogical mentor to support students’ learning during these rich and often complex intercultural projects (O’Dowd, Sauro & Spector-Cohen, under review) where the continually shifting nature of communication technologies mediates the linguistic and cultural competences demanded of learners, also referred to as langua-technocultural competence (Sauro & Chapelle, 2017).
Accordingly, in this paper, we explore how pedagogical mentoring during a three-country virtual exchange for foreign language teacher candidates supported the langua-technocultural competence of participants by examining three incidents illustrative of the following themes: (1) resolving conflict around the selection of digital communication tools whose use and accessibility varied in the respective partner countries, (2) disambiguating the different culturally-situated meanings ascribed to emojis, (3) fostering awareness of different cultural norms regarding code-switching.
The EVALUATE Group (2019). Evaluating the Impact of Virtual Exchange on Initial Teacher Education: A European Policy Experiment. Available from: https://www.evaluateproject.eu/
O’Dowd, R., Sauro, S., & Spector-Cohen, E. (under review). The role of pedagogical mentoring in virtual exchange.
Sauro, S., & Chapelle, C.A. (2017). Toward langua-technocultural competences. In C.A. Chapelle & S. Sauro (Eds.), The handbook of technology and second language teaching and learning (pp. 459-472). Oxford: Wiley-Blackwell.