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Monday, November 14, 2016

Record Number of Class-to-Class Tandem Partnerships

During Fall 2016, over 600 University of Minnesota students are conversing in a second language via Skype with students around the world through the TandemPlus program!

Students and teachers in French 1003, 1004, and 3014 are talking with students at universities in Lyon and Nantes, just as they have for many years. Similarly, German 1003 and Spanish 1003 students are partnering again with Leuphana Universität in Lüneburg and Universidad de Sevilla in Spain. Most of these instructors, both here and abroad, have worked with each other for several years and have developed conversation topics and tasks that are well integrated into the course curriculum. For example, during a chapter focusing on the topic of travel, students prepare for a conversation by brainstorming what they can tell their partner about their own travel experiences as well as what questions they want to ask about the partner’s travel practices, preferences and experiences. Students set a time and date to talk with their partner via skype or Google Hangout. Later, students share what they have learned and reflect on the cultural similarities and differences they have noticed. This might take the form of a journal entry, a formal essay, or a class discussion.

Interest among university instructors of Spanish has grown this semester and we have increased our number of partner institutions in Spanish-speaking countries. In addition to the university in Spain, we are now working with two universities in Mexico, Universidad Tecnólogica El Retoño and Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México. Completely new to the class-to-class tandem program this semester are 100 students in Spanish 3015 as well as their partners at Progressive English Services in the Dominican Republic. If you would like to learn more about TandemPlus class-to-class exchanges, please contact Beth Kautz at kautz001@umn.edu in the CLA Language Center.

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