I don't get the Slack thing

This might be a stupid question (or rather a question with an obvious answer) but I’m mystified about Slack.

I’m about two months in to the six month course, and Slack has been there in the background the whole time, but I don’t ‘get’ it. I understand how to navigate it (I’ve used Discord before, which is set up similarly) but I don’t understand what I’m meant to do with it.

I’ve gone in several times and it’s just long strings of messages about various things. I’m clearly missing something crucial about how I’m meant to be using it, considering lots of people talk about how useful it is.

What is it that I’m not picking up on, here? How am I meant to be using Slack to supplement the work I’m doing in the challenges?


Slack - in the SSiW world - is specifically for enabling conversations.
There are two groups that SSiW use - as you’re doing the 6-month course, you will already have access to this group (I think it’s called the 6/6 group - but I’m not part of it myself). There are regular sessions where you can practise your speaking with other people or ask for answers with course queries, etc.

The other group is the Welsh Speaking practice (WSP) group which is open to everyone via invite, whether they’re doing an SSiW course or not, and again it is to give everyone who needs it (especially those in places where there are not many Welsh speakers) a chance to practise having conversations.
In WSP there are two ways to do this -

  1. You can have 1-to-1 chats with people at a mutually convenient time. To do this, you can post that you’d like to chat with someone and when, and then wait for a response. To actually have the chat, at the agreed time one of you calls the other (by clicking on the avatar of the person you want to call and pressing the ‘call’ sign).
  2. The second chat option is hangouts. This is where groups of people can chat together. There are regular hangouts (usually advertised in advance in the events-calendar but also sometimes on other channels too) and there are occassionally “ad-hoc” ones that just pop up. To join these, you simply click on the link that the host posts.

Either way, the idea is that while the challenges get you saying things aloud, using the Slack groups gets you speaking regularly to other people :slight_smile:


Hi Alan. I completely understand what slack is for in the context of SSIW.

But after more than a year I am still terrified of going on there.

I’m hoping to attend the Clwb Cardiau AGM to meet people face to face. THEN I might get the courage to go on and chat.

@siaronjames explanation is excellent but it still takes some bottle to go on there for me.


Think of it this way - it is pretty daunting for almost all learners when they want to try and speak Welsh with real people for the first time, but at least with Slack you are amongst people who also found it daunting but know they’re all in the same boat and so there are no judgements, no “don’t have time to talk right now”, but there is lots of patience, lots of encouragement, and lots of opportunities to speak Welsh in your slippers from the comfort of your own home!

I know this doesn’t make it any easier, especially for introverts or technophobes for instance, and I know how big a jump it feels like (been there, done that!), but I also know - through speaking to them on Slack - that others who have felt the same way have never looked back after taking that first leap of faith!


Hi @ken and @alan-charlesworth. On the non-speaking side, Slack can also be good for those times when a bit just doesn’t seem to click - or you perhaps can ‘do’ something, but you wonder why it is how it is. Queries don’t have to be verbal, and there are specific channels for queries related to chunks of 5 challenges per level. It might be that you don’t think you have a query, but that what someone else has posted reinforces something - or that you can explain something in a way that helps someone else. Should you have the time & inclination to go on.

But I’d agree with @siaronjames that the talking is the biggest benefit - and if, like me, you live a fair distance from Wales, Slack makes it so much easier to find someone else to talk to. I’m guessing you perhaps have at least one Welsh speaker to practice sentences and talking with with Alan - unless you’ve not encountered those talking tasks yet? And I do remember finding it daunting to start with. I actually had my first Welsh chat with Cai in Finland - audio only - via Slack. And am so grateful for his patience and encouragement that first time. But it was once I got to the stage of needing to talk to someone for a given amount of time, and posted a query in the relevant channel, asking if anyone might be free at some point to chat for said time, that Slack came into its own. Other people were also looking for someone to chat with - finding someone doing the same course (can be easier to start with someone doing same Welsh variant) and free at a time I could do, I took the plunge and had a go. Both sides nervous - but you find that’s normal, not just you - you laugh, share things that have helped (or that are driving you mad!!) - and you talk. You discover things you really want to say but don’t know how to - so you either find some way of saying it with what you do know, or you look up that missing word, and use it - and you’ve added something new to what you can say. Everyone’s been friendly, but some people you find you’re just more on the same wavelength with. Or more likely to be free at the same time. So have repeat chats with. And build friendships. And support each other. And laugh. And talk to each other in Welsh - because that’s what you do when you get in touch. And your Welsh becomes more ‘real’.

I do, really do understand, how hard it can be to take that first leap. And I found it easier, personally, to find someone to talk one to one with early on - less daunting somehow, less exposed. And expect those moments when you go blank - when the thing you know you know how to say goes completely out of your head. It’s normal - it goes with the territory. But that’s OK. It really does happen to us all - might be frustrating (it so is!!), but it just proves you’re human, like the rest of us. So I really would recommend taking that deep breath and jumping in. And enjoy splashing about and practising and making friends and using your Welsh. And laughing.


Aagh! Sorry that was so long! Hope to meet you at the Clwb Cardiau Post AGM @ken :slight_smile:


Hi @ken. I know exactly what you mean about being terrified of the Slack chat sessions. I avoided them for most of my first year of learning and the first one was absolute murder, so awkward, I was so nervous and couldn’t understand what people were saying, I wondered if it was worth it at all. But Nia and Deborah are SO patient and nice and they encouraged me to come back. I’ve now been on four sessions, I think - and I STILL get brain fade most of the time if I’m asked a direct question, but no-one minds and I soon see that I’m not the only one with this affliction! Hey, if we could all understand everything we heard and could immediately respond to everything, we wouldn’t need to be ON Slack at all! So I’d say (from my experience, anyway) - spray on some extra anti-perspirant for the uncontrollably nervous sweating and jump in! You may hate the first one. And the second one. But the third one you may see a little glimmer of light. And then it DOES start getting easier. But I am still spraying-up before I go on a hangout!! :wink:

Also, if you fancy meeting for a coffee some time over the Easter weekend then I will be staying with my friends in Mwmbwls from Saturday 11th - Sunday 12th (which is only about 10 miles from where you are?) and could easily take an hour out to have a chat (using as much Welsh as possible, but I know much of it will be me saying, ‘How do you say X in Welsh, again?!’) - let me know if that’s of interest.


Hi @david-44. I can get to Mumbles on my bus pass. Only takes 35 minutes. It would be great to meet up if possible. Mumbles has plentiful coffee shops and of course Verdi’s. Message me nearer the time to set it up.

I did once accidentally click on a Slack link and found myself thrown into a chat with Nia and some other learners. It went OK, but not so well as to make me rush back.

I do speak in welsh at my proper ‘Learn Welsh’ class each week for three hours and it always goes well. Thanks for the encouragement.

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@ken I love the thought of you accidentally clicking on a link and getting plunged head-first into a hangout with @nia.llywelyn ! :rofl:

That would be great if we could meet for a coffee in Mwmbwls. I love Verdi’s (but mainly for their extra-thick Italian hot chocolate, which a chocoholic just cannot resist!). If you are happy to get the bus over there then that would be great. As you probably know, car parking is a nightmare over there so once I find a spot which isn’t Pay And Display I tend to be too scared to move the car until I head back to London, but I can get to Verdi’s on foot.

Which day would be best for you, Saturday or Sunday? I am coming from Dolgellau on the Saturday morning so will probably be in Mumbles by mid-afternoon. We will be at the Tabernacle United Reformed Church in the morning on Easter Sunday (I have even volunteered to take part in the service as my friends I am staying with basically run the place) but I could make some time on Sunday afternoon. Let me know what would suit you best as it would be fantastic to meet up for an hour or so.

David :slight_smile:


There are no afternoon buses on Sundays so Saturday afternoon would suit me best. I could drive however but I like to leave the car at home as much as possible.

I will be serving teas and coffees at my own church Sunday morning (Pillarcc.co.uk) so it sounds as though we will both be occupied then.

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OK Saturday afternoon sounds good. Yes, no point taking car as finding anywhere to park is a nightmare! I will drop you a note on the Saturday to let you know how our journey going but how about meeting at 4pm in Verdi’s?

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Great. See you then. I’ll message my phone number in case you need to contact me.

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I think you are all marvellous on this thread, it is this forum & its demands & potential that I struggle with…

I was so grateful for Slack when I started the 6 month course - it felt safe and full of reassurance, perhaps because the cohort passing through at that time had waited and longed for the extra support it offered! I have not always found it easy to elicit an opportunity for a “direct call” out of either the 6/6 or the WSP Slack, mainly because I’m active at odd hours.

Even so, the timetable for group video sessions on the 6/6 Slack does allow a fair number of people from across the world to participate in conversation, fun and games, usually with a small group or if you are lucky in the timetable lottery, you may catch a one to one with the wonderfully encouraging SSiW staff regulars, @nia.llywelyn & @Deborah-SSi, but also occasionally @beca-brown

Then there are great things on the Welsh Speaking Practice Slack, and much of it led by fellow SSiW learners…

All you have to do is be upfront about nerves or whatever other problem, and fellow learners will support and stand up for you… You can always direct message Deborah or Nia if you’ve encountered a problem getting suitable access to your fair share of talk time on group video sessions. Nobody wants to exclude you… Nobody’s judging…

I have to remind myself that the same is true on this forum… It seems so massive, it (still) terrifies me, but after a couple of years I can now see the point of this forum better, and can find the time to visit and follow threads here, too.

You get out according to what you put in, and in measure of your philosophical take on the value of communicating into the ether, paying forward, and recognising the generosity that brought about/brings about/renews and invigorates useful innovation…


Hangout Timetable for 6/6 courses on Slack