McCall, Ian Douglas
My UniSpace: applying e-mentoring to language learning
Language Learning Journal, 39, (3), . (doi:10.1080/09571736.2010.538950).
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This article discusses My UniSpace, an innovative project which involves undergraduate students in a British university mentoring online pupils aged 14–18 who are studying languages. The project was funded by Routes into Languages, an initiative aimed at increasing take-up in modern languages. My UniSpace offers pupils (mentees) the opportunity to develop their skills in the target language and to receive support in preparing for their language examinations by working with university student mentors, whilst at the same time allowing them to find out more about higher education. It also seeks to give the mentors themselves the chance to develop their own communication skills, which might enhance their future employability. The article outlines the advantages of e-mentoring for widening participation in languages and how My UniSpace was set up. It then evaluates its effectiveness after its second year of operation in the light of feedback from the participants and by considering the documented exchanges that took place. Finally, it considers lessons that might be learnt to ensure that e-mentoring relationships in languages have a high chance of being successful.
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