Global North-South Telecollaboration: Promoting a Critical Mindset, or "Just Making Day-dreams"?


  • Bill Guariento University of Northumbria


English for Academic Purposes, pre-sessional, authenticity, voice, becoming


Telecollaboration can enhance language skills and promote intercultural understanding, but university-level links between students in the Global North and the Global South are still rare, despite significant connectivity gains in the Global South, and despite the range of skills and experience that Global South students possess.  This paper presents a pre-sessional EAP course between engineering students in Scotland and Gaza in which telecollaborative project-work forms the core.  It suggests that such project-work can engender authentic forms of communication, providing opportunities for developing what Barnett (2007) terms a “space-for-being” among participants, and raise awareness of global inequality.  The paper concludes that the widespread move to online EAP delivery since 2020 might be seen not only as a pedagogic challenge, but also as an opportunity to develop a “critical EAP” (Benesch, 2001).  This would be of value to the students who are able to attend pre-sessional courses in the Global North and to the students in the Global South who are normally unable to attend such courses.  It could contribute more broadly, too, to the creation of an HE system based on principles of fairness and inclusion.  However, it also notes that further work is needed to ensure that Global South students feel willing to make their voices heard, one crucial element of authenticity that is still lacking.

Author Biography

Bill Guariento, University of Northumbria

After 20 years with the University of Glasgow, I joined the English Language team at Northumbria University in June 2020, where I am carrying forward my research interests in the areas of identity, social justice, and intercultural competences.  I have a specific interest in the development of pluriliteracies for language learners, and in exploring telecollaborative project-work with non-traditional overseas partner institutions.  My PhD thesis (2019): Pre-sessional English language courses: university telecollaboration as a driver of Global North / South student-contact for engineers, combined both of these, as have several of my other publications.  I am also a CELTA trainer/assessor, and in my current role as Programme Leader on Northumbria University's BA English Language Studies, and Module Leader on our MA programmes, I am attempting to marry the hands-on strengths of the CELTA with the academic rigour of degree-level study.