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> TandemPlus > TandemPlus Program Overview

TandemPlus

The TandemPlus program organizes opportunities for language students to practice and improve their abilities in the foreign language they are studying. To meet the needs of as many students as possible, we make these practice opportunities available in a variety of formats.

Fall registration is now open.

FACE-T0-FACE EXCHANGES

The TandemPlus program matches native speakers of two different languages, students of each other's language who learn from each other and help one another to learn. Typically, the partners meet for about two hours every week. Priority is given to language students currently enrolled in a class at the University of Minnesota, but registration is open to all. Learn More  

What is a Face-to-Face Exchange?

A face-to-face exchange involves a local partnership of two speakers, where each speaker is a student of the other's native language. The goal is for each speaker to help the other learn their language and cultures.

For example, if you are a native Spanish speaker and would like to improve your English speaking skills, you are matched with a native English speaker who is learning Spanish. Then you and your partner meet and have language and cultural exchanges.

Once paired by the Tandem program, partners decide together when and where they will meet. Most partners meet for about two hours every week.

When Will I Be Matched?

Once we find your partner, we will contact you both by e-mail. The criteria for matching language partners include: language; schedule/availability; preferred gender of conversation partner; age; hobbies; transportation issues, etc.

In all cases, currently enrolled University of Minnesota students have priority.

What Am I Committing To?

  1. Regular Meetings
  2. Each partner should commit to regular meetings throughout the term. You and your partner will decide when, where, how often, and how long to meet.

    If you must miss a meeting for any reason, please notify your partner as far in advance as possible. We ask that you make every effort to follow through on your semester-long commitment.

    Remember that your partner is excited about having this opportunity; if you are not able to follow through, we may have difficulty finding another match for your partner until the next semester begins.

  3. Sensitivity to Your Partner's Needs
  4. It is very important to be sensitive to the fact that people from different cultural backgrounds have very different expectations, beliefs, and behavior. Please share as much as you want to with your partner about your culture and perspectives. However, do not impose any beliefs or behavior (religious, political, social, sexual, etc.) on your partners.

    Please feel free at any time to express your discomfort or disinterest in any topic. Respect your partners if they seem uncomfortable, and show consideration for your partner's feelings by avoiding such topics in the future.

    Partnerships work best when both partners are clear about how they would like to practice the language and what type of feedback they are looking for in the exchange. Be clear with your partner about your learning goals and do your best to help your partner in the ways requested.

    In addition, make sure that equal time is given to each language being practiced.

  5. Understanding Our Program Goals
  6. The purpose of the TandemPlus program is to bring people together to learn about language and culture. It is not a dating service, a religious or political organization, or a social-service agency.

    If your partner's interest in the program is not primarily language or culture learning, please talk with your partner about redirecting your time together. Feel free to contact the TandemPlus coordinators with any questions or concerns.

  7. Understanding Our Program Priorities
  8. The greater community is welcome to register for TandemPlus. However, priority will be given to CLA students currently enrolled in language classes at the University of Minnesota.

    Please keep in mind that we use different criteria in matching partners, and the more flexibility you indicate in any of these categories, the more likely it is that we will be able to find a partner for you. The criteria include your language preference; schedule/availability; gender; age; hobbies, transportation issues and more.

How Can I Participate?

If you would like to register to participate in the program, please proceed to the registration page and complete the registration form. Registrations are valid until the end of the semester.

Disclaimer

TandemPlus is a resource for language practice and cultural exchange. Neither TandemPlus, the Language Center, nor the University of Minnesota is responsible for information provided by participants to TandemPlus.

Neither TandemPlus, the Language Center, nor the University of Minnesota evaluates or endorses any participant in or from this site.

Participate at your own discretion. Exercise care and judgment before meeting a stranger. Trust your own judgment about times and places to meet your partner.

What If I Have More Questions?

You can always contact the TandemPlus program at 612.626.6050, or tandem@umn.edu.


Watch a video about TandemPlus

VIRTUAL FACE-TO-FACE EXCHANGES

The TandemPlus program pairs language learners online through Virtual Face-to-Face exchanges, which join U of M participants with conversation partners in different countries. In this program, participants meet on-line via Skype or a similar platform to practice their second-language skills with students at universities in Mexico, Honduras, Chile, Peru, Brazil, Russia, Germany, France, and Israel.

This is a great option for students of languages for which there are few native speakers on campus, or who might otherwise have a difficult time being paired with a local conversation partner. Learn More  

What is a Virtual Face-to-Face Exchange?

A virtual face-to-face exchange involves an international partnership of two speakers in different countries, in which each speaker is a student of the other's native language. The goal is for each speaker to help the other learn their language and cultures.

For example, a native French speaker in Switzerland who would like to improve his English speaking skills would be matched with a native English speaker learning French in Minnesota. the two partners will meet via Skype or another online interface and have language and cultural exchanges.

Once paired by the Tandem program, partners decide together when they will communicate online. The availability that you enter in the registration form is adjusted to take time differences into account.

When Will I Be Matched?

Once we find your partner, we will contact you both by e-mail. The criteria for matching language partners include: language; schedule/availability; preferred gender of conversation partner; age; hobbies; academic interests; etc.

What Am I Committing To?

  1. Regular Meetings
  2. Each partner should commit to regular meetings throughout the term. You and your partner will decide when, where, how often, and how long to meet.

    If you must miss a meeting for any reason, please notify your partner as far in advance as possible. We ask that you make every effort to follow through on your semester-long commitment.

    Remember that your partner is excited about having this opportunity; if you are not able to follow through, we may have difficulty finding another match for your partner until the next semester begins.

  3. Sensitivity to Your Partner's Needs
  4. It is very important to be sensitive to the fact that people from different cultural backgrounds have very different expectations, beliefs, and behavior. Please share as much as you want to with your partner about your culture and perspectives. However, do not impose any beliefs or behavior (religious, political, social, sexual, etc.) on your partners.

    Please feel free at any time to express your discomfort or disinterest in any topic. Respect your partners if they seem uncomfortable, and show consideration for your partner's feelings by avoiding such topics in the future.

    Partnerships work best when both partners are clear about how they would like to practice the language and what type of feedback they are looking for in the exchange. Be clear with your partner about your learning goals and do your best to help your partner in the ways requested.

    In addition, make sure that equal time is given to each language being practiced.

  5. Understanding Our Program Goals
  6. The purpose of the TandemPlus program is to bring people together to learn about language and culture. It is not a dating service, a religious or political organization, or a social-service agency.

    If your partner's interest in the program is not primarily language or culture learning, please talk with your partner about redirecting your time together. Feel free to contact the TandemPlus coordinators with any questions or concerns.

  7. Understanding Our Program Priorities
  8. The greater community is welcome to register for TandemPlus. However, priority will be given to CLA students currently enrolled in language classes at the University of Minnesota.

    Please keep in mind that we use different criteria in matching partners, and the more flexibility you indicate in any of these categories, the more likely it is that we will be able to find a partner for you. The criteria include your language preference; schedule/availability; gender; age; hobbies, transportation issues and more.

How Can I Participate?

If you would like to register to participate in the program, please proceed to the registration page and complete the registration form. Registrations are valid until the end of the semester.

Disclaimer

TandemPlus is a resource for language practice and cultural exchange. Neither TandemPlus, the Language Center, nor the University of Minnesota is responsible for information provided by participants to TandemPlus.

Neither TandemPlus, the Language Center, nor the University of Minnesota evaluate or endorse any participant in or from this site.

Participate at your own discretion. Exercise care and judgment when meeting on-line. Trust your own judgment about divulging personal information to your partner.

What If I Have More Questions?

You can always contact the TandemPlus program at 612.626.6050, or tandem@umn.edu.

CLASS-TO-CLASS EXCHANGES

Instructors can include their entire class in an electronic class-to-class language exchange. In these exchanges, students at the University of Minnesota are paired with one or two students in an overseas class, and correspond throughout the course of an entire semester. TandemPlus can help the instructors in a variety of ways, from finding a counterpart class to suggesting how the exchange might be incorporated into a language curriculum. Learn More  

What is a Class-to-Class Exchange?

The TandemPlus staff works with individual language instructors to help them organize an exchange in which an entire class communicates with a counterpart class in another country.

Depending on your goals, we can help you locate a counterpart class; explain the types of technology available to carry out the exchange; help train the students in using the technology; offer suggestions on how to incorporate an exchange into the class; offer tips on how to increase the chance for a successful exchange.

Who Participates?

The students in the overseas classes are native speakers of another language who are learning English. We have worked with classes in Spain, Chile, France and China, but are willing to work with instructors and students of any foreign language taught at the University of Minnesota.

Generally, all students in both classes must participate in the exchange, i.e., the exchange must be a requirement for the class and incorporated into the grading system. There may be an occasional opportunity for a non-mandatory exchange, but generally, counterpart classes want to know that there is a grade associated with participation so that students will be more likely to send and receive postings.

Types of Exchange

  • Video
  • Students can participate in synchronous (real-time) or asynchronous (recorded) video exchanges with partners in a different country, using Skype, Google Video or any number of platforms.

    Synchronous exchanges can either take place during class time in the Language Lab, when all students from both countries are on-line, or students can meet on-line individually outside of class to talk with their conversation partners.

    Asynchronous exchanges can also be recorded during class time in the Language Lab or outside of class on students' own time.

  • Written
  • Students can write to partners in a different country. This type of exchange is generally carried out through e-mail. Typically, students leave one written message per week in their native language, and one written message per week in the target language.

  • Voice
  • Students participating in voice exchanges use Wimba voice tools to leave messages for each other on private voice boards on a Moodle site. Typically, students leave one voice message per week in their native language, and one voice message per week in the target language.

    TandemPlus staff can demonstrate how to set up the boards, and also provide training for the students in using Wimba technology.

How Do I Find a Counterpart Class?

TandemPlus staff is happy to work with instructors to find a counterpart class. Please call us or send an e-mail to let us know you are interested, and we can set up an appointment to discuss what kind of an exchange you would like.


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