Well, this Tandem and its story had a very clearly strong future-oriented identity from the very beginning.
Starting with Matina who was already pregnant at the partner forum, followed by Eirini, who was going to substitute Matina during her maternity leave but got pregnant too, and so we turned to the other Eirini from the local Athens team and, guess what? She was on her way to motherhood too. Then our team mentor also got a baby and we started to wonder if there was some contagious effect going on here.
If you happen to be in our situation:
1) Arrange your working hours according to the breastfeeding and the baby’s schedule: that’s clearly the most important thing!
2) Make sure you have the support of your Tandem partner’s partner too: your project needs him/her and his/her understanding of the situation in order for things to happen at all.
3) Enjoy observing the Tandem baby growing with the project.
4) Be ready to welcome mum and dad during the placement – in our experience, this is likely to happen if your Tandem partner comes from the South or East of Europe. Relatives are a unique help and support for your Tandem partner and might be the reason why things happen at all. Cherish them!
5) Be aware that if you are the one not having kids (yet), this could be a learning moment for you, and who knows, you might love it, or you might not.
In the end, we both enjoyed the journey and its clear uniqueness. This family experience has also helped us very much in redefining effectiveness and social impact.
Two students produce a contentious piece of ‘cooperative’ fiction when forced to work together.
A supposed assignment actually turned in by two English students:
Today we will experiment with a new form called the tandem story. The process is simple. Each person will pair off with the person sitting to his or her immediate right. One of you will then write the first paragraph of a short story. The partner will read the first paragraph and then add another paragraph to the story. The first person will then add a third paragraph, and so on back and forth. Remember to reread what has been written each time in order to keep the story coherent. The story is over when both agree a conclusion has been reached.
Advance Sergeant Carl Harris, leader of the attack squadron now in orbit over had more important things to think about than the neuroses of an air-headed bimbo named Laurie with whom he had spent one sweaty night over a year ago. to he said into his transgalactic communicator. “Polar orbit established. No sign of resistance so far…” But before he could sign off a bluish particle beam flashed out of nowhere and blasted a hole through his ship’s cargo bay. The jolt from the direct hit sent him flying out of his seat and across the cockpit.
Little did she know, but she has less than to live. Thousands of miles above the city, the Anu’udrian mothership launched the first of its lithium fusion missiles. The dim-witted wimpy peaceniks who pushed the Unilateral Aerospace Disarmament Treaty through Congress had left Earth a defenseless target for the hostile alien empires who were determined to destroy the human race. Within two hours after the passage of the treaty the Anu’udrian ships were on course for Earth, carrying enough firepower to pulverize the entire planet. With no one to stop them they swiftly initiated their diabolical plan. The lithium fusion missile entered the atmosphere unimpeded. The President, in his top-secret mobile submarine headquarters on the ocean floor off the coast of Guam, felt the inconceivably massive explosion which vaporized Laurie and other Americans. The President slammed his fist on the conference table. “We can’t allow this! I’m going to veto that treaty! Let’s blow ’em out of the sky!”
Yeah? Well, you’re a self-centered tedious neurotic whose attempts at writing are the literary equivalent of Valium.
This Tandem Story “writing assignment” first appeared on the Internet in February 1997, when it popped up in the newsgroup rec.humor, having gotten there from a joke list. In September 2007, this piece names and other factors varying from the example given above (including the information that the assignment was carried out via , a detail absent from the above example) — in a Toronto Globe and Mailarticle by Sharon Melnicer, a former teacher in living in Winnipeg, who claimed that it came from an assignment she gave to her English students in the late 1990s (which she subsequently presented at a workshop for Manitoba English teachers in 1997). “Both students got top marks,” she noted:
However, in terms of meeting the objectives I had set for the assignment, and fully knowing where their “mistakes” were going to take us, the exercise couldn’t have been more successful. Or more fun!