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					Campus Conversation Partners
Creating a CCP program at a large university
Niki Eustice & Sue Almén-Whittaker

Student Needs
• Native Speaker exposure • Not brave enough • Not improving in English • Feedback • An American friend • Learn more about American culture

Faculty/Staff Needs
• Exposure to other cultures • Building understanding • Helping others feel welcome to campus and town

Stages of Development
• 2001 TESOL
– Proposal written

• Feb., 2007
– Won EOD Grant

• 2002
– Explored Costs
• Advertising

• March-April, „07
– Gather video & stills – Work with IT people on video editing

– Explored funding
• NAFSA • On campus • Private corps.

• May-August, „07
– Finalizing brochure & video

• 2003-2006
– Shelved for other projects

• September, „07
– Mass e-mail sent

• Late 2006
– Applied for EOD Grant

• October, „07
– First match-ups made

Start-up & Maintenance
• Advertising
– Brochures – Fliers – Campus wide email – Commercial
• Volunteers (students & F/S) • Voice over & student voices • Intended audience/venue

Video

You can watch a copy of our video at:

http://www.uiowa.edu/~iiepesl/ccp/ccpvideo.html

Start-up (cont.)
• Program website and email
– University address for program correspondence – Website with relevant info from brochure

Website

Start-up (cont.)
•Application questions •Electronic submission

Start-up (cont.)
• Data collection and organization
– Excel spreadsheets
• One for F/S, one for students • Items to include (screen shot) • Color coding

– Long-term storage

Database Example

Maintenance
• The Matching process
– Matching partners
• Review responses from app, prioritize gender requests • Consider applicants not within parameters
• • • • • • Set up meeting times via email Reserve a room Contracts (public places, once a week) Make name cards (optional) Power point presentation for orientation (opt.) Plan first meeting

– Meetings (20 minutes)

Maintenance (cont.)

Maintenance (cont.)
• Personnel requirements
– Data collection and organization – Correspondence: questions, cancellations, meeting set-up – Duties appropriate for administration vs. for ESL/International professionals – Meeting attendance

Our Experience
• Mass e-mail to F/S
– Within 30 minutes: 25+ applications – Within 4 hours: 55+ applications

• Next day announced in ESL classes
– Response slower, but later outpaced F/S applicants

• Began matching based on who applied first

Our Experience (cont.)
• Reserved mtg. room • Sent e-mails to 30 F/S to see if available to attend evening mtg. • Then recruited NNSs • Matched based on gender preference, hobbies, selfdescription

Our Experience (cont.)
• Day of meeting:
– Table Tents – PowerPoint: Tips for Success – Business Cards – Agreement – List of attendees – Table arrangements

Our Experience (cont.)
• Maintenance
– Check CCP e-mail everyday – Field phone calls – Updating database

Orientation Meeting PowerPoint
What we show at our F/S & NNS meetings

Tips for Having a Successful Partnership
Campus Conversation Partners

What if I can‟t pronounce my partner‟s name?
• At today‟s meeting, teach your partner how to say your name and/or a trick to help them remember its pronunciation.
– For example: Sue sounds like “shoe” but with “s” instead of “sh.” Or, it also sounds like “suit” without the “t.” – If you prefer to be called by a nickname, let your partner know that too.

What if I can‟t understand my partner?
• Faculty & Staff
– Be patient and persistent to figure out what your partner wants to say. – Use clarification strategies:
• Say in a different way • Give an example • Draw a picture • Write it down

• ESL Students
– Don‟t be afraid to ask for more information about a topic you are not familiar with. – Ask your partner to:
• Say it in a different way • Give an example • Draw a picture • Write it down

What can I do to make it easier for my partner to understand?
• Faculty & Staff
– Be aware of the expressions you use:
• Slang, phrasal verbs (like “count on” and “get around to it”) are often difficult. Your partner may have learned “tolerate” but not “put up with.” • Ask your partner if they know the expressions you are using and write them down if needed.

• ESL Students
– Pay attention to your pronunciation and grammar.
• If your partner seems confused, ask them which word or phrase is confusing them.

– Don‟t be afraid to ask your partner for help pronouncing a word or using a more natural expression in English.

Tips for Both Partners #1
• Speak clearly and at a moderate pace
– Ask your partner if you are speaking too fast. If your partner‟s (polite) answer is, “a little.” It means you should probably slow down a lot. – If you are a mumbler (unclear speaker) make an effort to enunciate slowly and clearly.

Tips for Both Partners #2
• Participate equally and share the time.
– Some people are more talkative than others.
• If you like to talk, make sure you invite your partner to give their own ideas too. Use questions like, “What do you think?” “How about you?” “What about in your country?”

– Others are more shy and quiet. If that is you, push yourself to speak.
• For ESL students, don‟t worry about making mistakes, just try! Your partner will help you! That‟s why they signed up for this program. They want to learn more about you and your country!

Tips for Both Partners #3
• Make sure that the knowledge of the topics are shared
– Some topics you will talk about require cultural background that your partner may not have: sports, TV shows, relationships between family and friends, religious practices, holidays, etc. – Ask your partner, “Have you heard about this?” “Do you know about this?” – If you don‟t know about something your partner is talking about, ask them to explain in more detail (or with pictures).

Being Culturally Sensitive
• Movies, music, and mass media play a huge role in teaching us about other cultures. Unfortunately, they often don‟t give us an accurate picture of each other‟s lives.
• Don‟t be afraid to ask questions about each other‟s cultures. • If you are not sure if a question is culturally appropriate, begin by saying, “I hope it is ok if I ask you…” A sincere desire to know is usually appreciated, regardless of the topic. • Also, if your partner has a preconception about your culture that you think is incorrect, talk to your partner about it. Use yourself and your experiences as examples.

The Most Important Tip for Success… Relax, learn, and enjoy!

Difficulties Encountered
• Data collection/organization
– Time consuming after submissions placed in appropriate excel files – Support staff needed

• Meeting no-shows
– – – – Average of 1-2 per meeting / 7 Approaching the unmatched Contacting the no-show 2 no-shows and you‟re out
• Diplomatically dealing with second no-show
– Rematching the unmatched – Dealing with no-show (situational)

Difficulties (cont.)
• Disillusioned Partners
– Expectations of NNS and F/S – Reality of the situation
• NNS F/S with long history in U.S. rejected by NNS student

• Cultural Differences
– – – – Political/religious/gender issues Age differences Handling partner complaints Screening challenges

Benefits for Students
• American norms, values, & habits • Vocabulary • Listening • Friend • Comfortable in other situations • Comfortable at UI • More about city

Benefits for Faculty/Staff
• Another country • Life of international students/staff on campus • Friend • Tolerance

ESL Program Benefits
• Awareness of our program • Better feelings from students and faculty/staff

Other Issues
• Safety
– Non-public meetings (e.g. Thanksgiving)

• Cultural
– Saying “no”

• Personal
– Want to change requirements

The Future
• Bulleted e-mail • Mid-session follow-up • End of session follow-up

Any Questions?

Our contact info:
www.uiowa.edu/~iiepesl/IIEP/learnteacher.html

nicole-eustice@uiowa.edu sue-almen-whittaker@uiowa.edu


				
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