Rules For language learning in Tandem

When learning a language in Tandem, the principles of mutual responsibility and autonomy apply. Therefore both Tandem partners should keep the following rules in mind:
  • The meetings take place regularly once a week and last at least 90 minutes.
  • Each language should be given equal amount of time.
  • Both languages are practised separately and not mixed together.
  • Both partners are learners as well as listeners, advisors and experts.
  • Both partners respect the mutual agreements reached and are responsible for their own learning progress as well as for that of their tandem partner.



The tandem partners can organize and decide the following completely independently:
1. Time and place
Choose the time and place of meeting with your tandem partner according to your respective learning objectives.  
2. Aims and topics
Formulate learning objectives and stick to them. Reflect after each meeting as to whether you are getting closer to your objectives, and write up minutes of each meeting to help you do so. Respect your partner's learning objectives and their method of learning. Give feedback and ask for it, too. Remember: you are not to act in the role of a know-it-all teacher.
Choose topics that suit your learning objectives. Ask for appropriate materials and search for suitable materials for your partner. Choose topics that really are of interest and of use to both of you (e.g. questions that have arisen in language courses, language questions concerning projects, subject-related topics and intercultural problems).  
3. Working methods and materials
There are many different methods of working that can help you achieve your learning objectives. You can have a discussion, dictate passages, read and learn poems, give presentations or simply ask and answer questions. In doing so, you can, for instance, practise the correct use of phrases and expressions, target specific grammar problems and broaden your vocabulary. Always discuss the working methods with your partner and reflect after every meeting whether the selected method has been motivating and effective, or not. Keep trying out new methods. The materials you use (newspapers, books, pictures, films, cooking recipes etc.) should support the joint learning process by providing topics to talk about and helping you to practise specific structures. Make use of the Language Counselling Service should you run out of ideas! 
4. Feedback and correcting
Ask for feedback and corrections and offer both to your partner as well. This is the only way you will both benefit language-wise. You don’t have to know everything but you will know what is correct in your mother tongue. Be positive, encourage your partner, give praise and motivate them. Correct any mistakes by repeating the phrase correctly. Point out mistakes to your partner and try to correct them together. Observe in successive meetings whether your partner is making progress or not. Make use of the Language Counselling Service to learn more of the art of providing feedback and your options for correcting mistakes.

Please also note the following:

Each tandem partner is responsible for their own learning process and decides what should be practiced in their target language. The tandem partner supports them in selecting the material and preparing the meetings. They are an expert in their native language and can tell you what is right and wrong and give assistance in formulation. However, do not expect any lesson from your tandem partner.

You might consider recording your ideas, questions, wishes, and also your suggestions for future tandem sessions by writing a learning portfolio on a weekly basis. Use it also to plan the content of the next meetings – this does not need to be detailed, some notes are entirely sufficient. It will help you to work continuously in a structured manner, collect your materials and notes, and adjust your activities after reviewing your learning progress.

Our language counselling support will help you with the
• preparation of a personal learning plan
• selection of appropriate strategies and techniques to help you reach your goals
• handling of mistakes and choice of correction options
• selection of appropriate learning materials
• personal reflection on your learning process and assessment of your progress.

Use this offer to get the full potential out of your tandem.