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Students shaping the Language Café

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Thank you to everyone that has taken the time to complete one of our feedback forms; after reviewing all your comments and suggestions here is a summary of what you said and what we did.

The Good Stuff

Some students ask to start up their own language table which we are very happy to do if the demand to learn that language is sustained. Haejeong Lee managed to draw a small group of Korean learners to the Language Café every week and managed to keep interest and demand so that it became a permanent language table at the cafés. She also created a Facebook group and posted learning resources to her small group and continued to teach outside of the café.

Attendee feedback was positive with over ¾ rating the Language Café as ‘good’ or ‘excellent’.

96% of respondents said they would recommend the Language Café to a friend and they were all happy with the time and day of the cafés and the languages represented.

When asked what their favourite thing was about the Language Café, ‘meeting new people’, the ‘informal atmosphere’ and ‘improving my ability in using my target language’ were the most popular answers.

“I intend to use this for the future to demonstrate my capability as a group leader, the skills of communicating with and organising a big group of people, but also coming together as a fun group full of people from many different nationalities has been beneficial.”

“I love seeing people at the tables coming together, getting to know each other and enjoying the activities we have planned for them. Not only is it great to see them practicing but we have also seen people becoming friends and meeting up the weeks after which is wonderful!”
 

Your comments and suggestions

Many students have commented that the acoustics in Room 76 are condusive for language learning as they sometimes couldn’t hear properly or had to shout. Work has been done to reduce the noise by having the music switched off but we acknowledge it is an ongoing issue and moves are being made to possibly change venue in January 2017.

The provision of free food was also commented on a few times, possibly by those who attended last year when free pizza was available at every session. Having pizza every week is very expensive and the Students' Union felt it was not a good use of the funding and we would prefer to concentrate financial resources on aiding language learning and providing wages for student staff involved. However, we will be offering free tea and coffee next year depending on budgets.

Some attendees commented that the games and activities were not always that enjoyable and some people just preferred to talk rather than take part. It was also mentioned that catering for different abilities can be difficult and not engage all participants.

  • The games and activities are there to help with language learning, however, if attendees would rather learn in a different way then that’s ok!

  • We will try to split each language table into abilities in September. This will mean beginners can learn together with a basic activity and intermediates can do the same with a more difficult activity. They can then come together at the end to play a game, which keeps the inclusive nature of the cafe but acknowledging that learners are at different stages.

  • We will be recruiting more volunteers to manage this. Why not be a volunteer? 

  • We will be asking our partners at Sussex Centre of Language Studies to provide training in learning activities for different abilities for our Leaders and Volunteers.

Some students have commented on the time of the cafe. As venue space is limited we need to be mindful that we do not take away event space that student societies can use. Therefore, we will continue having the Language Cafe to be an hour and a half. However, next year the cafe will start half an hour later - 6pm - to allow for late classes to finish which should suit attendees, volunteers and bar staff better.   

It was commented on that there were not many attendees at the Language Cafe towards the end of the Spring term. If you attended the Language Cafe within the first few weeks it was completely different - we had over 100 students coming every week for the first half of the term. It is normal for the cafes to be quieter towards the end of term as University deadlines and exams take priority, which is absolutely fine. However, we think changing the time may also affect this.

We are currently recruiting Language Cafe Leaders - find out more and apply here.


 

 

Contact us

Got a comment/criticism about anything discussed in this article? Let us know on our social media channels!

facebook.com/thestudentsunion

twitter.com/ussu

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