Tips for Learning in Tandem

Time

Set a time frame for your tandem partnership and stick with it. Meet at least two hours per week throughout the whole semester. This guarantees continuity and at least one weekly hour of language practice for each of you.

Place

Choose a neutral, tranquil environment (not necessarily your home) to learn. Consider your learning goals when choosing a place for your meetings and bring the documents you would like to work on.

Goals

Set goals for your tandem partnership and pursue them with determination. Reflect after each meeting on how far it contributed to reach your goals.

Roles within a Tandem Partnership

  • Take turns in being teacher/expert and learner.
  • Respect your tandem partner’s needs even if her / his learning methods are different from yours.
  • Give each other feedback.
  • Ask your tandem partner for help if you need some.
  • Be proactive and introduce each other to possible learning materials.

Methods / Approaches

  • Try different learning tasks (for example discussing a newspaper articles, making a short oral presentation, learning vocabulary from a text, listening to a song, reading literature, watching videos…).
  • Reflect how effective and/or motivating the different tasks were after having tried a new one, and if necessary, discuss alternatives.

Topic

Pick topics that allow you to pursue your learning goals and that you personally find interesting. A few ideas:

  • pending issues from your language course or other lectures / seminars
  • newspaper articles of your interest
  • language-related questions related to your projects (for example travels, work, presentations…)
  • cultural and intercultural topics (see our learning tip “Interkulturelle Kommunikation”, in German)

Peer-feedback

  • Discuss how and when you want to correct each other (for example, which mistakes, how often…).
  • Be patient and allow your tandem partner enough time to correct herself / himself or to look for a formulation.
  • Repeat incorrect sentences correctly (teacher echo).
  • Take notes of mistakes and discuss them at the end of a session.
  • Record yourselves with a voice recorder and listen to the recording together.
  • Think of learning tips for your tandem partner if you notice specific errors (for example, explain a rule).

Learning Resources

  • newspapers
  • fictional / non-fictional / specialist texts
  • letters or e-mails
  • grammar: theory and exercises
  • podcasts or videos
  • materials from language courses or other lectures / seminars
  • language learning materials at the SLZ
  • voice recorder or mobile phone to record each other

Further Sources for help

At the SLZ

  • more ideas and exercises in the tandem folder
  • tandem workshops
  • Sprachlernberatung - Language advising service

Online-Resources

If you have further questions, please contact us at tandem@sprachenzentrum.fu-berlin.de.

 Enjoy your tandem experience!