Alejandro Bolaños-García-Escribano, Mazal Oaknín (SELCS), Marga Navarrete (SELCS/CMII) (contributions from PG Research Students: Lydia Hayes. UG Students: Nadia Massoud, Kat Pirnak, Clemency Connolly-Linden, Kieran Lewis, Ellen Cusack) (SELCS/CMII)

10 minute talk

Scholarly inquiry on distance-learning practices in foreign language education is far from new and although in the past two decades many higher-education institutions had already embraced blended and electronic learning and teaching approaches, the COVID-19 pandemic has acted as a true catalyst for a sudden move from offline to online learning/teaching across the board. This has proved particularly challenging for modern languages teachers and students, especially those who were used to more traditional forms of tuition.

Presential, teacher-student and student-student oral interaction is considered paramount to fostering in-class discussion and dynamism in higher education. Yet, it is even more so in the modern languages classroom, where active engagement is deemed essential to attaining a higher command of structures and acquiring fluency in the foreign language (Council of Europe 2020).

This paper will report on a student-led research project that exemplifies the principles of research-led/-based education in as much as the student collaborators work under their teachers’ supervision in order to gauge student expectations, experiences and evaluation at three different stages of the learning/teaching process (before, during and after term time). The benefits of involving students in research-led/-based teaching practices are manifest; indeed, by building on reflective practice, this research proposed immediate action for the provision of online modern languages training, including the development of year-long portfolios at departmental level.

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