Tandem learning is a mutual language exchange between two people. The idea is that both partners should benefit equally from the exchange.
There no fixed rules, but here are a few things that make tandem learning more effective:
Both learners should have about the same amount of time to work on their language. Each partner can get their own specific needs met in the tandem learning exchange: One student may want to learn Spanish for an upcoming vacation; the other may need help with a German homework assignment, language test, or application.
It is a good idea to prepare for the meetings. Bring books, newspapers, music, an application or an assignment from one of your classes to your meetings.
The first time you meet, you and your tandem partner should discuss your expectations from the exchange. Possible questions could be:
- What is your goal in learning the foreign language skills? (Studies, travels, professional ...)
- What language skills would you most like to practice? (Reading, listening, speaking, writing)
- How do you learn best? (Speaking, reading, grammar ...)
- What topics are you interested in?
- What tasks should the tandem partner help you with (presentation, application, etc.)?
It is also helpful to set up rules for learning with your partner:
- How do you want your partner to correct you? Should they correct all mistakes or let you speak and give you feedback later?
- How much time can you / do you want to invest?
Based on our experience, the best way is to set up regular meetings. If possible, try to set aside at least two hours per week. You could set up a minimum amount of time per week and extend it on a needs basis. If you can’t make one of the meetings, please inform your partner ahead of time.
And one final piece of advice: It is definitely better to have your first meeting in a public place. That could be on the HTWG campus or in a cafe.