Thanks to advertising, patrons and sponsors, the Network runs regular sessions for the LEN community. 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, shaving, or putting on your lippy.
Someimes we run sessions on Skype. To join a session on Skype you have to be a member of the forum (all LEN sessions run in private rooms), so you have to be in the session organiser's contact list on Skype (see below).
Members can 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?
- First things first - 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 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 Teach's contact list on Skype.
- Only active members can send Teach a private message.
- To find a session, check the calendar.
- You will need to install the free Skype 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 will 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 our online English sessions. 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 Teach 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.
How to join a regular "voice" session
- Make sure you are "available" in Skype (green).
- IM (instant message) the session organiser in Skype, a few minutes before the session is due to start. Simply type a message to say you would like to join the session and they 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 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?
We try to be on Skype at least twice a month, however 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 sessions. 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?
Sessions and topics can be requested by forum members.
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 = I can hear you
- 222 = I can't hear you
- 2121 = the sound is breaking up
- ccc = the connection is noisy
- ??? = I don't understand.
- "**" = You are speaking too quikly.
- 999 = you are talking too much
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. 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, and the Absolute Beginner and Back to Basics sessions.
If you have any questions, please ask on the forum.
How much does it cost?
All the activities we run are free, thanks to advertising, and our lovely sponsors and patrons.
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.
Please note - You are not allowed to add your friends, or other contacts to any of the session rooms. If someone is interested in joining us, tell them to apply to join the forum.
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 in a session we take it that you have agreed to this.
We can't offer software support in a session. So, if you are having voice issues you need to try to work them out:-
If you are having problems you can try the following:-
- Check your hardware
- Check your internet connection
- Check your Skype settings
- Make sure you are not muted
- Make sure that your microphone and speakers are plugged in
Once you have done the above, make a test call
- In Skype go to: Tools - Options - Audio Settings - Make a free test call
The sound test will ask you to speak and afterwards, it’ll play your message back to you. If you can hear your own voice in the recording, it means that your audio devices are working well and you’re ready to join a call.
If you can’t hear anything:-
- Check your Windows settings
- Make sure your Windows version is up-to-date
- Follow the sound guides for Windows 7/8/10
- Make sure you’re using the latest version of Skype
- In Skype go to Tools > Options > Audio Settings, Play button under Speakers. If you can hear the Skype sound being played, your speakers are working.
- If you can’t hear anything, make sure that your speakers are selected in the drop-down list (don't use Default, especially if you use other voice applications).
- Make sure you haven't blocked Skype in your firewall, or security settings.
If all else fails, ask in the Skype community:-
You can also join the Ask Aladdin session and see if he can help.