Study Buddy Partnership

The Study Buddy Partnership Programme pairs up language learners with different native speakers, so that both can improve their foreign language skills. Language learners discover the respective language from each other and find out about the country and their partner’s culture.

Study Buddy Partnership – How does it work?
Here you will find a guideline on how to set up meetings with your study buddy partner.


Guideline Study Buddy Partnership

This study buddy partnership is based on two principles:

1. Mutuality: Half of the time is devoted to one language and the other half of the time is reserved for the other language. It should be equally beneficial for both study buddies, and both help each other reach their goals.

2. Autonomy: Each individual is responsible for his/her own learning, regarded as “autonomous language learning”, meaning each person determines what, where and how much he/she would like to learn at each meeting. The corresponding partner should then support the predetermined objective(s).

 

The First Meeting

The main purpose of this meeting is to get to know one another, being sure to discuss the following two points:

  1. When, how often and for how long should the meetings be held?

    This should be agreed upon between the two participants. Important: In the first meeting, set the exact time frame for how long you would like to meet, and try to invest the same amount of time for both languages.

    We recommend:
    – at least once a week
    – at least 45 minutes per language
    – for one semester

  2. Where should these meetings be held? 

    This should also be determined by the participants themselves.
    Our recommendation: At a place where you can both focus, for example in the cafeteria (outside of meal times) or in a café.



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What is my role as a language learner?

In short, the learner speaks in the foreign language and the partner speaks in his/her native language. There should only be short exceptions for clarification, upon request or for other reasons.

The learner is responsible for setting the content and for choosing the method. That means that the learner must be aware of his/her specific language needs. For example: 

  • Why do I need the foreign language? (studies, travelling, job etc.)
  • Which competences are important to me? (speaking, writing, reading comprehension, listening comprehension, grammar, vocabulary)
  • What do I want to get out of it? What is my concrete objective? (improve my conversation skills for holiday, leisure or my university studies; preparation for studies; improve receptive competence, e.g. understanding movies, newspaper articles or other texts in the language; to prepare for an oral presentation in the language; a place to get my grammar questions answered).

My preparation as a language learner 

  • The learner determines the focus of the meeting in advance.
  • The learner formulates questions for the study buddy partner.
  • The learner may bring learning materials with him/her (e.g. newspaper articles, other texts, video clips, ideas for writing a text, etc.).

Evaluation of my learning process

In order to monitor your learning progress, we recommend that you define your learning objective in writing at the beginning of the language learning partnership. Check your learning progress at regular intervals. The checklist for self-assessment of the European Language Portfolio can be used as a guide. However, you can also document your learning progress by keeping a learning diary.

 

What is my role as the teacher?

Basically, no preparation is required, as the learner is responsible for conduct of the meeting. If you as the teacher have helpful materials, you can of course bring them to the meetings.

The teacher is guided by the learning needs and choice of topics of the other person and provides assistance by, for example 

  • clarifying vocabulary, comprehension or grammar questions
  • giving feedback on language (oral/written) or exercises completed
  • giving information on the country of origin.

Correction of mistakes
Correction of mistakes and suggestions of improvement are up to the language partners. There are several possibilities for correction, for example: 

  • To indicate the mistake during the conversation; this may be useful, but it interrupts communication.
  • To note the mistake and discuss it at the end of the session.
  • To correct the study buddy during the conversation without commenting on the kind of mistake.

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