Tips for Learning in Tandem
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.
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.NB. During the winter semester 2021-22 our tandem events (kick-off meeting, tandem office hours, advising for language learnin in tandem) take place online. You can decide if you would like to meet with your tandem partner face-to-face or online. If you decide to meet online, choose an online communication platform suitable for your needs and goals. For example, if you would like to share or discuss documents, or if you would like to record your meeting, choose a platform which allows you to do this. Click here for a list of online communication tools. Tandem pairs are also free to meet face to face, according hygiene concepts.
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.
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)
- 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).
- 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
- Lernen zu lernen (Learning to learn) on our website (in German)
- our links for learning in tandem
- more tips for learning with a tandem partner
If you have further questions, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Enjoy your tandem experience!