Kick- Off Meeting in November 2012

University of Greifswald


The global labour market and the internationalisation of research projects bring with them certain demands in terms of foreign language acquisition. More and more companies and universities require their employees and students to adapt to a multicultural environment and to speak various languages. This creates a need for new dynamic concepts of language learning. The SEAGULL project, conducted from 11/2012-10/2015 and funded by the EU Lifelong Learning Programme, aims to support tandem learning in various ways. SEAGULL stands for Smart Educational Autonomy through Guided Language Learning. As illustrated by its name, it tackles the challenge of bridging the gap between an autonomous learning approach while at the same time being accompanied by the need for a systematic and calibrated support. 20 partner institutions from all over Europe and beyond will be developing learning materials for autonomous tandem learning in 11 languages (Arabic, Chinese, English, French, German, Lithuanian, Polish, Russian, Swedish, Spanish, and Turkish). For each language, materials in form of topic sheets for levels A1 to B2 will be available by October 2013. To foster adequate language acquisition which focuses on genuine dialogue collaboration SEAGULL will provide a subject matter on topic sheets in order to provoke authentic and lively conversations. The idea is to implement topic sheets providing pictures and rare word input, enriched with lexis and grammatical structure. These topic sheets mean students can rely on materials conceived by professionals even within an autonomous tandem setting. The topic sheets will be accompanied by handouts including advice on didactics and specific language phenomena, and therefore enable each partner to transmit his/her mother tongue.

A second goal is that language learners within a tandem setting should be enabled to acquire intercultural competence while communicating across cultural boarders – reflecting on and comparing their own assumptions and those of others. The topic sheets designed in SEAGULL therefore give a lot of scope for learner’s investigations regarding their own cultural background in comparison to those of others, in an open self-reflecting way.

The third and essential task of the partner institutions is to include the autonomous tandem learning method into their curricular system. That means that tandem should not be seen as an additional offer for students conducted freely in their private time, but as a part of the language centre’s programme, recognised by ECTS and a certificate.

By integrating autonomous learning methods such as tandem learning into the official study programme as well as by cooperating across national borders, we are aiming at establishing a dynamic and efficient network. Thus language learners will be enabled to choose an individual approach for language acquisition while at the same time they will profit from a smart and professionally developed environment.

Project Meeting in May 2015



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