Volunteer '5 Minute' Listeners

One of the most important steps in the learning process in when you first speak Welsh where someone else can hear you.

For many of our learners, this happens when they jump in at the deep end by trying to talk to a stranger in Welsh, or when they throw themselves into a Skype conversation for the first time.

Both of those are scary propositions!

So I’d like to try and break it down a little bit - to make it less ‘out of control’ frightening.

I’m thinking here of people who haven’t yet started making regular, ‘slow-motion conversation’ contributions in ‘Speaking Practice’ - how can we help them build that confidence?

If you’d be willing to listen to a new learner (on a video call) for just 5 minutes while they say some of their practice sentences out loud, please add your name to this thread… :slight_smile:

And if you’re a new learner looking for someone to listen to you for five minutes, say hello in here, and with luck someone will offer to listen… :slight_smile:


I’m willing to listen to a new learner! :slight_smile:


And this is me adding my name to the ‘willing to listen’ list… :slight_smile:

[Also: any good ideas about the best ways to organise this? It’s a little tricky - should new learners be messaging lots of people? Sounds ineffective… but also just waiting for volunteers to remember to volunteer can be a bit frustrating… I suspect there must be a better answer, but I can’t quite see it just yet…]

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Willing to listen :slight_smile:

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A couple of possibles

Parent’s evening style appointments

Break the day up into 10 minute slots (5 minutes extra to cover connectivity woes)
Volunteers stick their name against a slot they can cover
Listeners stick their name against the slot they want

  • You can get started using a shared spreadsheet
  • You can see who’s covering when
  • Learners can see what the availability is
  • Learners can book in advance, so they’ve got something to aim at
  • It takes the faff out of having to work out a mutually acceptable 5 minute window
  • Listeners aren’t hanging around on the off chance

A spreadsheet’s just the simplest lowest cost way of getting started - but I’m sure there’s scheduling/booking services around that would be better suited.

An online “lounge” where potential listeners can hang out waiting for a learner

https://discordapp.com/ might lend itself well to this
You’d set up an “ssi” server
Create a channel in it called “listeners”
People available to listen go in here when they’re available
A learner gets in touch via the chat facility
The listener/learner pair move into a new channel to have their chat, meaning that the listener leaves the “listeners” channel

It might end up like that permanent google hangout - lots of dead air at times.


Good thinking.

Hmmm. Does that Discord thing mainly do similar stuff to Slack? Could we, in fact, use our Slack for this? Or set up a separate one?

I wonder if some kind of combo might work - that we encourage people to aim for a set of particular time windows, but then do that via Slack/Discord?

I believe Discord came into being for in game chat during video games. I suggested it because one of it’s main features is the voice chat bit - dunno if that’s seamlessly integrated into Slack these days.

But certainly the concept of a channel/room is shared between Discord and Slack, so yes, that aspect of it could be met by Slack.

I think whatever you go for you’ll need a diary of some kind - would be disheartening for someone who’s just downed their ninth Ovaltine prior to finally taking the plunge to find the room empty…


Though the trouble with slack and discord - it’s another thing learners have to go and get to grips with…

Ever used https://appear.in for video chat? It’s very slick.

One of its features is you can claim a “meeting room” e.g. https://appear.in/james-mahoney
Someone who wants to join can simply click on the link, and without needing to sign up or login, they can “knock” to request access - meaning if I was busy with a learner no one else could simply burst in.

Then it’s about finding a simple way to let people know that between 1300 and 1330 on Tuesdays and Thursday I’m available for listening. Or posting my meeting room on the page that lists currently available listeners (and remembering to remove it when I’m unavailable, which is why the discord/slack channel idea came to mind)

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I’m happy to volunteer to listen to people. Finding a mutually suitable time might be difficult because, ironically, now I’m retired I can’t always guarantee to be free at a particular time. I therefore like James’s idea of some sort of “lounge” one could hang around in when available. I often have a spare 30 minutes, but can’t necessarily say in advance when that will be.


I’m willing to listen :slight_smile:

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I’m happy to listen to people as well, but I find it very difficult to set regular times. I really like the ‘lounge’ idea if that could work.


If I’ve read correctly the last updates to Discord, video chat was built in with the last or second to last updates, however I never used anything on there for audio/video chats but only for written discussion. Since this is build for in-game chats primarly it’s much more stable (at least they say so) than Skype. I’m a bit not familiar with the channels and servers though despite I once used TeamSpeak which is a bit similar to discord (or was, because I am not sure this one exists yet).

Might be Discord is quite suitable because I believe quite some Welsh learners (from SSiW too) are using it if not for the in-game chat than for participating in the discussions on Celtic Languages server. I’m the member there with the name KnightGhost although not very active.

If not too “highly qualified” person could be counted in then I’m willing to listen to learners however only at the evenings from about 8:30 - 10 pm my time (what means 7:30 - 9 pm UK time).


Great idea! Very happy to listen sometimes, however it ends up being organised.

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Ah, yes, I got invited to that once for a chat - it seemed extremely easy - pick a name, share the url - I think that could have legs for us.

I wonder… would having a set weekly time be a good way to start this? So, for example, we say the ‘5 minute listen volunteer team’ is for Wednesdays at 7pm, for an hour maximum.

And that way all the volunteers who can, and all the people wanting to do a ‘5 minute chat’, end up squashed into the same space, and more likely to get a match…

And then over time, either increase the number of days it happens, or add extra times on the same day…?

Avoiding the risk that everybody’s first experience of trying to volunteer/practise is a) turn up b) look around c) see no-one else there at the moment - repeat that three or four times, and most people would, I think, give up on it…

I’m willing to listen to a new learner – but I prefer times set up in advance.

I would rather not have to visit a lounge regularly just to be “on duty” because I know I’ll forget. Either some a regular time as you suggested or some other sort of scheduling. And I’d prefer not to have to use any new software, either (e.g. Discord).

Sorry for sounding a bit like a curmudgeon, perhaps I’m not the best suited for this after all.

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I’m happy to listen to new learners on Wednesday evenings.

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Happy to listen too

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Hi, I’m happy to listen, although I’m a pretty new speaker, myself.
However, my work pattern is very erratic and changes at short notice. I can’t guarantee to get to an internet connection every evening.

Having said that, if the listening duty time can be flexible, feel free to count me in.

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It is possible to message people and/or set up posts and I have had two people offer to talk with me in that way. Thanks novem and Susa1999! Nonetheless, it’s easier knowing who is happy to chat and having a list of willing victims and/or a system makes it easier to find something at mutually appropriate times, so thanks for setting this up :slight_smile:

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I’d struggle to do 7pm in the evening, but would sometimes be available during the day on Thursday or Friday, or evenings after 9:30.

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