The Role of Pedagogical Mentoring in Virtual Exchange

Robert O'Dowd, Shannon Sauro, Elana Spector-Cohen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

52 Scopus citations


Virtual exchange, or telecollaboration, is a well-known pedagogical approach in foreign language education that involves engaging classes in online intercultural collaboration projects with international partners as an integrated part of their educational programmes. This article focuses on the role of the teacher as pedagogical mentor in virtual exchange and examines the impact of the strategies and techniques that teachers use in their classes to support students’ learning during their online intercultural projects. The article begins with a proposed categorization of pedagogical mentoring reported in the literature to date. It then reports on the outcomes of a virtual exchange project carried out by three classes of initial English teacher education in Israel, Spain, and Sweden that involved two types of pedagogical mentoring. Qualitative content analysis enabled the identification of the impact of mentoring that took place before the exchange and also revealed insights into what students learned when their own online interactions were integrated into class work. The article concludes by discussing the limitations and challenges of different types of pedagogical mentoring in virtual exchange and by outlining a list of recommendations for carrying out pedagogical mentoring in such projects.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)146-172
Number of pages27
JournalTESOL Quarterly
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1 Mar 2020


FundersFunder number
Telecollaborative Teacher Education34/2015, 582934‐EPP‐1‐2016‐2‐ES‐EPPKA3‐PI‐POLICY


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