What is tandem language learning?
Language learning in tandem is a popular supplement to traditional language courses in many language schools and universities around the world. It is a method of foreign language learning in which two proficient (not necessarily native) speakers meet on a regular basis to learn each other's language. During every meeting tandem partners communicate half of the time in one language and the other half in the other language. Thus each participant has a dual role: he/she is both the learner of a foreign language and the teacher of a language in which he/she feels proficient. For example, an Erasmus student from Spain who wants to brush up on his/her English might pair up with a Croatian student of English who wants to improve his/her Spanish. They would meet regularly in order to learn each other's language.
How does the programme work?
Step 1 – REGISTRATION
Step 2 – MATCHING
After the application deadline, application screening and finding tandem partners for as many candidates as possible follows. Unfortunately, due to the fact that the required languages are not necessarily languages that are offered, there is the possibility of failure to find a partner for all applicants.
Step 3 – INFORMATION SESSION
Once the tandem partners are paired, an information session for all participants will be held. At the session, the candidates will familiarise themselves with their partners and receive more detailed information about the programme. The time for regular facilitated tandem meetings is also set up then. Those tandem partners who choose not to attend the meetings can meet independently of them. They are, however, provided with topic suggestions and learning materials weekly.
Step 4 – FACILITATED MEETINGS
Facilitated meetings are held once a week at the appointed time and place. At the beginning of each meeting the facilitator introduces a weekly topic and offers the participants a list of questions for discussion. The weekly topic is only a suggestion, and tandem partners are invited to modify or change it if they do not find it suited to their interests or language competences. After the facilitators' introduction, the partners spend the first 30 minutes of the meeting speaking in one language, and the next 30 minutes speaking in the other language. After each part, the proficient speakers give feedback to their partners.