Local volunteers are helping us to shape our language courses

Our Talking Together project offers informal and flexible language teaching to long-term UK residents who have little or no knowledge of English. 

The programme is fundamentally based on working collaboratively; with our delivery partners, who manage the processes of engaging with and supporting learners in close liaison with a project coordinator, all the way through to potential volunteers who are being trained to deliver the programme.

So we were all really excited to involve our first cohort of volunteers in shaping our super-intensive ‘train the trainer’ course for language trainers and to find out what they think.

We had a nice mixed bunch of volunteers and everyone was clearly motivated to get stuck into the content. The day was led by Alex from Elevation, who’s been a joy to work with and she delivered with aplomb. We had lots of fun, plenty of challenges and experienced a good chunk of minor anxiety as, in turn, we were each put on the spot and asked to deliver a session.

We kind of knew it already but now we could see that creativity, thinking on your feet and being able to truly respond from where people are, while keeping a good eye on the wider group, were all super-key qualities. We learnt a lot by participating as a team so when the "happy sheets" came out towards the end of day two we were already feeling confident and better informed about the challenges our volunteers will face. 

We were even happier when we saw the  feedback. Several great improvements were suggested and we’ll integrate them into the  next version, plus an overall aggregated score of 9.6/10! But we won’t be resting on our laurels … that remaining .4 score on the door is important to us.

So with our delivery partners all lined up and ready to go, next for us is ensuring the best possible matches with volunteers, scheduling the first set of pilot ‘learner courses’ and getting started. With pledges of more learners than we can probably manage at the moment we’re all excited at taking on what will probably be our biggest co-ordination challenge yet.

Want to get involved? Find out more about our Talking Together project here