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TandemPlus Class-to-Class Exchange with Germany

December 7, 2020

As the name suggests, TandemPlus class-to-class (C2C) exchanges usually pair one local language class with one language class in another country. Individual students from each of the classes are paired and meet online three to five times throughout the semester for conversation in both the target language and English. Sometimes, however, the group of students at one of the universities isn't technically "a class," but rather students from a variety of courses who have been recruited by a staff person at the institution to form a group for the purposes of the exchange. This type of arrangement is usually due to special circumstances, such as curricular changes due to COVID-19.

Since May 2020, the German language program at the University of Minnesota (UMN) and the English language program at Leuphana Universität in Germany have helped each other out to meet unanticipated needs due to special circumstances. When a UMN German course could no longer travel to Germany during May Term, our partners at Leuphana quickly recruited participants so that our students could have four conversations with native speakers during an intensive two-week phase of the revised course. This fall, we switched roles. Students at Leuphana University preparing to become English teachers were scheduled to study and live in an English-speaking country during the fall semester. Due to COVID-19, that program was canceled. In its place, we arranged for those students to have nine online conversations with different partners from the UMN German program. This resulted in all the students enrolled in German 3011 and German 5011 being able to complete the Tandem assignments embedded in their courses AND the Leuphana students to have extensive English language practice despite not being able to study abroad. It has been a win-win situation!


 

Instructors: If you would like to provide your students with an opportunity to converse with native speakers online next semester, please contact Beth Kautz at tandem@umn.edu. The TandemPlus program is happy to work with you to develop a program that meets your needs!