Information for Osaka University students

Contents

  1. What is Tandem Learning?
  2. How a tandem learning session is structured
  3. Keys to make most of tandem learning
  4. Support from us
  5. Comments by participants in the past
  6. How to participate in the tandem learning project
  7. For the participants
  8. Project report 2012
  9. Workshop Reports
  10. Facebook

1. What is Tandem Learning?

In Tandem Learning you will be paired up with someone who is 1) proficient in the language you are learning and 2) learning a language you are proficient in, making it possible for you to learn from each other.

Advantages of tandem learning:

2. How a tandem learning session is structured

How do you learn in tandem learning? Below is a standard structure of a tandem session.

Example: A 90 minute session of a pair of Japanese and English speakers

Reflection (5-10 mins)
Talk about what you have learnt by yourself over the past week. Exchange your reflections. Was your plan successful? Why?
Learn from each other (60 mins)
Learning English (30 mins)
Learning Japanese (30 mins)
Making plans (5-10 mins)
Arrange a next session: when to meet, what to do, which resource you need, etc. Write a tandem learning diary. Share your study plan during the week with your partner.

Tandem learning with more than three people has proven to be less effective. This is because time for each participant to practice is reduced. It has also been observed that time is unevenly shared between speakers of the same language. Please stick to the original pair and refrain from inviting friends to your sessions.

Please divide the tandem session into two parts: one for your learning and the other your partner’s. This does not necessarily mean, however, that you are expected to speak your target language all the time in your part. Communication with your partner solely in your target language would be difficult if you are a beginner. The most important thing is you can express yourself satisfactorily so that your partner can understand you better. This is also true for your partner. Please discuss with your partner when to use which language and try to find a way that works both for you and your partner. By doing that both you and your partner will be able to benefit from tandem learning.

3. Keys to make most of tandem learning

Learner autonomy

Your partner in tandem learning is not a language teacher. Rather than expecting him/her to teach you his/her language, you have to decide what to learn and how considering your purpose of learning that language. Please tell your partner how you would like him/her to help you.

Reciprocity

In tandem learning your partner would like to learn your language as much as you would like to learn his/hers. Please divide your tandem learning session into two, one half for your learning and the other half for your partner’s learning.

Your partner would like you to help him/her as much as you would like him/her to help you. In your partner’s learning time, please make sure that you offer the kind of help your partner asks for.

Tandem learning is most effective when you and your partner collaborate in carrying out your learning activities.

Preparation and review

In order to make most of tandem learning, preparation and review are important. When you decide to talk about a particular topic, for example, you could look up words necessary for talking about the topic in a dictionary or search some information on the topic on the web before the session in order to make your learning activities more fruitful. Or when you practice conversation, it would help your memory if you could record your conversation with your partner and listen to it later, or write down what you talked about.

We are aware that you are all busy. You do not have to spend a long time for preparation and review. Please do something without stretching yourself too much, if it is only for five or ten minutes.

Plan, record and reflect

Whatever you do, planning is indispensable to achieve your goal. In order to check if your plan is going well, you need to keep a record of what you have done. And it is vital to reflect on your record and revise your plan if necessary. For an effective tandem learning too, planning, recording and reflecting on your learning is crucial.

We have developed "Learning Diary" as a tool to help you plan, record and reflect on your learning. Here are some of the comments by people who used it in the past:

Please leave about ten minutes at the end of each session to write a diary. It is quite OK if you prefer your own notebook to Learning Diary.

Make a doable plan for both you and your partner

Learning a foreign language may not be the most important thing in your life. Sometimes things come up that you have to prioritize over your tandem learning. But tandem sessions are not only for you but also for your partner. If you cancel a session, your partner loses the learning opportunity too. So please try to stick to your arrangement of meetings. To make sure that you won"t end up cancelling too many sessions, discuss what is possible with your partner and make a realistic, doable plan.

4. Support from us

We aim to run a workshop in each term to help participants develop a repertoire of strategies to make most of tandem sessions. We are also available for consultation via e-mail throughout the term.

5. Comments by participants in the past

Following are some comments by participants in the past.

6. How to participate in the tandem learning project

We call for participants in the beginning of each semester. For details please look out for posters we put up in (Graduate) School of Letters and some other places on campus or visit our Facebook Page.

We regret that we do not accept applications from outside Osaka University.

7. For the participants

Download the diary form

8. Project report 2012

We regret the report is only available in Japanese.

PDF file (5.5 MB)

9. Workshop Reports

Unfortunately the report is only available in Japanese at the moment. Would anyone care to translate it into English?

10. Facebook

As a means of communication with current and past participants we have created a Facebook page.