University of Applied Science Burgenland (AUSTRIA)
About this paper:
Appears in: ICERI2009 Proceedings
Publication year: 2009
Pages: 5027-5035
ISBN: 978-84-613-2953-3
ISSN: 2340-1095
Conference name: 2nd International Conference of Education, Research and Innovation
Dates: 16-18 November, 2009
Location: Madrid, Spain
The Tandem Model has been used since 2002 during summer colleges for students at the University of Applied Science Burgenland in Russia, the Czech republic, Hungary, Poland and Croatia and additionally in Austria and Finland. There is interest in this model in Denmark and Sweden.

The ’TANDEM’ model is based upon the proposition that culture is always a dialogue, an exchange of opinions and experience, and the comprehension of the others’ values and traditions. Each culture enriches and renews itself through contacts with other peoples’ traditions and values. This is the reason why the TANDEM model’s objective is to develop the participating students’ intercultural competence, i.e. the ability to recognize both their own and the foreign culture.

Experience with intercultural encounter programs since 1991 allows the conclusion that a consistently positive effect on the participants’ motivation to learn a language follows the encounters and that interest in intercultural discoveries when communicating with the learning partner is greatly increased.

Targeted bilingual material has been used in adult education when teaching students of all ages and the parents of students who have to learn a foreign language. This teaching material allows for a free dialogue in a predefined temporal setting, and a presentation subsequent to the pure phases of learning.

The three phases model (tandem formation/ development phase/ presentation phase) has proved its worth as the most efficient learning principle in all fields. Elementary school students require more differentiated learning phases for their dialogue and learning concepts which are geared towards their educational framework. Fundamental intercultural encounter experiences also exist in this field.

The advantage of the TANDEM model lies (amongst other things) in the increased establishment of direct contacts between learning partners speaking different languages – the informal contact between lively groups at grass-roots level leads to intense exchange and mutual learning.

The learning partners’ main focus lies not only on language development, but also on intercultural points of contact.

In this sense, the TANDEM model is also an aspect of a transcultural education, questioning not only the culturally obvious, but also pointing out where elaboration is required. Thus the model is ‘bicultural’ and ‘bicognitive’. Students are required to show a high degree of willingness to immerse themselves in the foreign country’s culture and way of thinking.

Regarding teachers, the TANDEM model, as opposed to other methods of foreign language teaching, allows them to break free of the traditional teacher’s role and take up the role of a consulting partner.