An intercultural exchange program, connecting our Spanish students with English learners in Salinas.
We started Team Tandem in 2015 with these premises in mind:
- Intercultural exchanges should be at the core of the language curriculum
- Spanish is not a foreign language in the US
- There is a need and desire for language skills in the community
- We wanted to tear away the Californian “lettuce curtain”
We have worked with hundreds of learners and collaborated with different local organizations such as Mujeres en Acción, Salinas Adult School, Monterey Adult School in Seaside, and Hartnell College in Salinas, our current partner. We meet on a weekly basis and collaborate in English and Spanish, using a curriculum that evolves with each iteration of Team Tandem.
The concepts most highlighted through the history of Team Tandem are language confidence, awareness, and community, in all senses of the word. The physical sense, in its local implementation. The social sense, in its focus on learning through building relationships and creating new communities. And the political sense, in its connection through the lives of its participants to a wide variety of global issues.
Our overarching goal is to bring communities together and equip formal and informal learners with new strategies for interpersonal and intercultural growth.
We are currently incorporating a Project-Based Language Learning approach. For the first collaboration, Middlebury Institute and Hartnell College students created an Employment Pathfinder for the Monterey County Free Libraries.
Middlebury students can participate in Team Tandem by enrolling in Spanish in the Community for Spanish or ICC credit. If you want to know more about the program, please contact Professor Guillén.
If you are an English learner, please contact Professor De Pompeo to enroll in English in the Community at Hartnell College as a credit or noncredit course, which is free of charge.
Frequently Asked Questions
You do need at least an intermediate level in Spanish, which means that you are able to create with language at the sentence level, ask and respond to simple questions, and manage a limited number of transactional situations. In the past, intermediate, advanced, and superior level students have been able to participate successfully.
If you want to participate, please send an email to Professor Guillén and explain why you want to take the course, your placement level, if you want to take the course for Spanish or ICC credits, and other relevant information.
It is typically 22-35 minutes from campus, since we have the advantage of going against traffic. We carpool from the Institute, and drivers can request funding from immersive learning for gas. We usually host around 10-12 sessions in Salinas and 3-5 sessions at MIIS to train and reflect on the tandem experience.
We partner learners by level at Salinas for the Friday session. Also, during the week, Spanish learners work asynchronously on reflections, listening input from Radio Ambulante, and assignments that target their specific language needs.