FinTandem is a course model and it is planned as a course that takes place for the duration of a school year and consists mainly of the participants’ independent meetings with their FinTandem partner. In addition to these meetings, the course also includes other elements which are planned as a support to the independent studies. FinTandem consists of four elements:
Finding a FinTandem partner
The FinTandem guide
Five gatherings for all participants
Finding a FinTandem Partner
To sign up for FinTandem is free of charge; the course fee is invoiced when the participant has received a partner. You can sign up on an electronic registration form. When the coordinators have found two suitable FinTandem partners they are informed and instructed to contact each other in order to find a time and place for their first meeting.
When the coordinators try to find suitable FinTandem pairs, they consider for example, age, sex, hobbies, profession, home district and, of course, personal requests. By considering all these factors the coordinators aim to find participants who will have a lot in common and consequently a lot to talk about.
The FinTandem Guide
When a FinTandem pair has been formed, the coordinators send both of the participants a FinTandem guide in Swedish, Finnish, English or Russian. In the guide you find information about: the FinTandem course and the tandem principles, tips for activities and topics to discuss, information about the National certificate of language proficiency and how to prepare for it, as well as a diary which will help the participant to plan and evaluate her/his learning.
Five Gatherings for All Participants
During the school year Vasa Arbis arranges five gatherings for all the participants in FinTandem. The gatherings function as a support to the studies the FinTandem participants do on their own. The content of the gatherings is based on feedback participants have given over the years. The gatherings give the FinTandem pairs a possibility to meet other participants. Two gatherings are arranged during the autumn term and three during the spring term. Each gathering has a specific theme:
1. General information about FinTandem
This is a gathering to which anyone who is interested in FinTandem can come. You receive information about the FinTandem course and the tandem method. This is also a good opportunity to meet your FinTandem partner for the first time.
2. Tips about activities
During this gathering the coordinators give advice about different kinds of exercises and activities the participants can do in order to make language learning effective and varied.
3. Exchange of experiences
When it’s time for the spring’s first gathering most of the FinTandem pairs have already been meeting for a few moths. During this gathering the pairs meet other participants in small groups and are given the opportunity to discuss experiences, give tips or advice and discuss possible problems.
4. Board game night
During the board game night the participants get to try out different board games – this is a fun way of developing your language skills! The participants are divided into bilingual groups and they play games both in their mother tongue and in their tandem language. If a FinTandem pair is interested in playing board games during one of their meetings, they can visit Vasa Arbis, where there are plenty of games to choose from. Ask the staff for help with finding the games.
The last gathering is a picnic which is held in a park, or if the weather is bad, indoors. In addition to the picnic food and nice conversations, the coordinators also gather feedback and we try out some group activities.
The participants in FinTandem have access to individual support from the coordinators throughout the school year. The coordinators can be reached on their e-mail or on the phone (contact details). The participants can contact the coordinators regarding anything that has to do with FinTandem. Especially if a FinTandem pair is experiencing some kind of difficulties, it’s a good idea to ask for help. It’s always easier to find a good solution together.