Chat and Conversational English Practice on Skype
Thanks to our lovely sponsors, the Network runs regular Skype sessions for LEN community and LEN forum members. The sessions last for about an hour, sometimes a bit longer. We use voice, so you will need a microphone, but we don't use video, so there's no need to worry about getting your hair done, or putting on your lippy.
To join a session on Skype you have to be a member of the forum, and you have to be in Lynne's contact list on Skype (see below).
LEN sessions run in private rooms, and to join them you have to send the person running the session a private message each week, just before the session starts.
We have also set up text chat rooms in Skype called Meet Up 4 ESL. The idea of these rooms is that members will be able meet up with each other to chat via text and eventually exchange contact details, maybe even set up chat rooms yourselves where you can practise spoken English together.
What do you need to have?
- You will need a Skype account, with the most up to date version. (If you don't have a Skype account you'll need to download the software and follow the instructions online - don't worry, it's free).
- Naturally, you must use have access to a computer with an Internet connection (the faster the better) and a good quality sound card.
- To hear any conversations you will need a good pair of headphones (or computer speakers).
- To speak you will need a good quality microphone with a reasonable sound card (You can now buy USB headsets with a built in sound card).
What do you need to do?
- To join in any of our Skype sessions you have to be an active member (not a "New Member", of the Learn English forum and be in Lynne's contact list on Skype.
- Only active members can send Lynne a private message.
- To find a session, check the calendar.
- You will need to install the free Skype software software (follow the instructions on their web site). We cannot give technical support for the installation and running of the software, but they can. Make sure your settings are correct before you start.
- Once you have all the software installed, test your headset and microphone. You can do this using the tools Skype provides.
- If you wish to leave the group, simply do so, and you will be removed from our contact list. !Note - You would have to reapply to join again.
How do you access the voice sessions?
Due to recent abuses of the system, only active members of the forum can apply to join any of the voice sessions on Skype. You have to do this via the Learn English forum.
Once you have 2 stars in the forum, you become a member, and you can send a private message to Lynne in the forum with your Skype id.
Lynne will then send you a contact request via Skype and once you have replied to it (in Skype), she will be able to add you to the Meet Up 4 ESL room. These rooms are permanent, but because there are quite a few members, you won't be able to start voice calls.
When you are a member of the Meet Up room, you might not want to be pinged every time someone posts in the group, simply click on the Conversation menu at the top, select Notification Settings and set your preference for notifications.
You should save the room in your conversation list on Skype.
If you "leave" the room, it means you are no longer a member, and won't be able to get back in without reapplying.
How to join a regular "voice" session
- Make sure you are "available" in Skype (green).
- IM (instant message) Lynne in Skype, a few minutes before the session starts. Simply type a message to say you would like to join the session and she will add you to the group.
- There are limits to the number of people who can join a session - first come / first served.
- After a while - to allow you to chat to each other - -the call will start and the room will close, but you can apply to join again the next time.
- When you join the call make sure your mic is muted.
- Once you have taken part in a session, posting about it in the ESL rooms, or on the forum is really appreciated. Your feedback helps us to improve future sessions.
(If you have followed all the instructions and still can't get in the room, let us know in the Skype area of the forum, and we will try to sort out any problems.)
When is the room open?
The Meet up 4 ESL room is available 24/7, but we are not. We usually moderate the Meet Up 4 ESL room on Tuesdays and Thursdays.
We try to be in the Meeting room at least twice a week.
We can't promise we will always be there on the same day or at the same time, but we do try.
You are not limited to visiting just our room. If we are not there at a time to suit you try one that is.
What times do the regular sessions run?
There is a calendar of times here. All times are *CET = Central European Time (Berlin).
You can click here to calculate the time in your city/country, www.timeanddate.com/worldclock - choose the city of Berlin for the time to convert from.
What do we do in the sessions?
First and foremost - Sessions and topics can be requested by forum members.
Skype - Mondays - In the reading room on Mondays we read out loud. Due to time restrictions if the room is full, not everyone will be able to read out loud, but we do try to make sure everyone who attends regularly has a go.
We usually start with a topic. This can involve an article or short skit to get people to speak out loud. We try to give feedback on English pronunciation and English speaking skills, if you don't want any feedback, just say so.
Skype - On Wednesdays (Got an hour?) - Meet up with April for her weekly reading session.
Skype - On Fridays (TGIF) - We meet up on Skype and you are invited to come along to relax and just chat about anything and everything. This is the best session for people new to Skype and the Network, as we can try to answer any questions you may have.
Sometimes we discuss the week's sessions and this gives everyone the chance to speak English freely. Common topics of conversation are: introductions, current events, food, books, movies, sports, hobbies, art, music, education, family, holidays, travel, and the weather (Lynne is British after all).
What should you do in the sessions?
When you enter any session or hangout for the first time make sure your microphone is muted and check what is going on, and then if it's appropriate, type "Hi" in the chat window.
If you want to speak type "mic" in the chat window and if it's appropriate the moderator will call you to take the microphone. You can then talk by clicking on the microphone on your Skype panel and speaking into the mic, (don't forget to mute your mic when you've finished).
We use the following codes:-
- mic = I want to say something.
- 111 to show we can hear you
- 222 means we can't hear you
- 2121 means your sound is breaking up
- ??? = I don't understand.
We don't mind if you just want to listen to start with, but you will be encouraged to speak.
What level are the rooms aimed at?
We expect these groups to find their own level, but it generally works out that intermediate to advanced students get the most out of the sessions. However, you are more than welcome to join us whatever your level, you can learn a lot by just listening.
For beginners we recommend the lessons, Amatsu's Tuesday session on Google Plus, and the Friday session in Kitely.
If you have any questions, please ask on the forum.
How much does it cost?
All the activities we run are free, thanks to our lovely sponsors.
The cost to you is your time and participation.
We realise not everyone can take part in our sessions, so we will try to publish details of our past sessions in the forum.
By joining any of these activities you agree to follow the Network's rules and guidelines.
Of course you are not limited to our activities on Skype. There is a lively language learning community there. Check out the Skype Language Learning forums for more free groups and language exchanges via Skype.
For more information and guidelines please read the English Chat page. By taking part in any of our sessions, you agree to be bound by these rules and guidelines.
We ocassionally record the sessions for streaming on the web. By participating it is understood that you have agreed to this.