Dr Anna Bokedal, Modern Languages and Scandinavian Studies tells us about how she set up a new teaching method in Beginner Swedish through the inclusion of native speakers in group tutorials classes. 

Problem

Students in Beginners Swedish asked for more small group tutorial classes for more oral practice with a native speaker. UoA has an Erasmus collaboration with Swedish universities, as well as a fair number of Swedish nationals studying a degree programme at Aberdeen. I thought it would be interesting for the native students to meet with learners of Swedish, which would also meet the needs of course students for more supervised oral practice.

Solution

I invited Swedish Erasmus students and some Swedish regular students to five organized discussion classes in SN2003 and SN2503. In small groups, each with a native speaker, students discussed various topics or did other activities. I have done this for two years.

I want my students to be able to interact normally in the language they are learning. Interacting with same-age, same-situation peers is a different experience from talking to the teacher.

Evaluation

This teaching method is currently being evaluated with surveys to and interviews with this year's native and course students. So far, 100% of all respondents enjoyed the classes. 100% of native and at least 78% of responding course students would have wanted more out-of-class activities together. For 7 of 8 native students it added to their experience of studying abroad. 100% of course students report increased confidence in speaking, increased ability to understand spoken Swedish and that they learnt something new from the discussion classes about Swedish language, dialects, culture and people.