The sayBabel workshop is not a lecture or a serious meeting, it is rather an encounter of friends who want to develop together. For a relaxed, warm and inclusive atmosphere:
SayBabel workshops are based on non-formal education methods and consist mainly of interactive exercises and group work, encouraging participants to actively participate and overcome the language barrier. Avoid long lectures by opting for more dynamic forms.
Each workshop and each edition of sayBabel are designed to gradually increase the degree of difficulty. We start with a warm-up, which allows individuals to safely engage with the foreign language and begin to feel more comfortable in the group before moving on to the next levels. Likewise, each edition starts with easier topics, generally ending with activities that require participants to present something to the group in English.
Our approach is to divide sayBabel workshops into editions. Each edition means 3 workshops around the same topic (for example Responsible Consumption, Travel as metaphor of life, etc), so participants can deepen their understanding and broaden their vocabulary in a more complex, holistic way. Yet, workshops are self-standing and designed in such a way that each participant can take part in all of them or just pick one or two depending on their will and possibilities.
In the beginning, some of the participants may feel insecure when speaking a foreign language, especially in a group of unfamiliar people. Don’t force people who are not ready to actively express themselves in front of the whole group, rather propose slowly increasing the involvement, at an individual pace.
Examples of waxing levels of commitment:
Of course, increasing involvement may take place in a different way and doesn’t have to end with setting up a group or even co-running a workshop. However, it is worth having such an option at the back of your head and supporting people who may be ready for the next challenge.
Although during workshops, when discussing issues related to the actual social and environmental situation, we may point to existing problems, an important element is a conversation about what each and every one of us can do in relation to a given challenge. Participants should leave the meeting with hope, motivation to change and ideas on what change they can introduce in their own lives.
Each workshop consists of a variety of forms that will allow you to respond to the diverse needs of people with different learning styles. In addition, each workshop should include elements related to speaking, listening, but also reading or writing in English (it is worth taking care of the balance also within a given edition). During the workshops, we use non-formal education methods, they have nothing to do with the way a language is taught at school.
Diversity is the keyword! The more diverse the group, the greater the chance of breaking stereotypes, going beyond our own social bubble, and seeing the world from a different perspective. The presence of people who don’t speak Polish (e.g. migrants) is also very important, as it motivates participants not to switch to Polish and to try and communicate in English despite the language barrier. It also creates a more authentic use-case situation, allows participants to become familiar with various accents, etc. Diversity should refer not only to origin, but also to gender, age, language level, (dis)ability, etc.
sayBabel workshops should be accessible to as many people as possible, which may mean, for example, considering a venue accessible to people on wheelchairs, adapting materials or providing assistance for the visually impaired, etc. Accessibility also means being able to talk to the leader before the workshop about obstacles that may make it difficult or impossible for a person to participate in the meeting, and to think together if and how to respond to them. The availability of the leader before the workshops (e.g. by phone or e-mail) can also help people who are afraid to join, e.g. due to their language level, introversion, etc. Conversation with the leader about what the workshop looks like, what is the expected level of language etc, can help dispel these doubts.
Another form of accessibility is to make sayBabel workshops available for everybody regardless of their financial situation. We run sayBabel workshops for free (sometimes with the support of grants) or according to the “Pay as you like” idea – participants decide themselves how much they contribute financially, depending on their satisfaction and financial possibilities.
Our goal is to break the speaking barrier, not necessarily to reach an absolutely perfect use of the language. That’s why we invite to:
Participants receive a list of additional materials (listed at the end of each scenario) that will allow them to delve into the topic of the workshop on their own. After some workshops, especially those that involve long text reads, participants also receive a glossary with words used in the text/during the workshop, related to the topic of the meeting.
sayBabel workshops should be tailored to the needs of a given group as much as possible, the leader adjusts the scenario to specific participants. The workshop ends with a short but specific summary and evaluation that will allow to improve the leader’s work on an ongoing basis. At the end of each edition (a series of three workshops), it is worth carrying out a longer evaluation, also probing, for example, what topics participants would like to raise in the following meetings, to what extent and how they would like to be involved in leading, etc.