They are teaching students how to write their degree projects
More and more students are showing deficiencies in their linguistic skills. The test comes when they write essays and when they write their degree projects. This requires special knowledge and a methodology. Now help is at hand: KTH’s newly opened language workshop.
The language workshop welcomes students who need tutoring in how to use language. Whether it’s project work or a degree project, or an oral presentation, the language workshop can help you loosen the knots.
“Many turn to us for help with spelling, referencing and sourcing. But we prefer to focus on the deeper insights as to what students should think about when it comes to the structuring of an essay, or the disposition of the material,” says Margareta Olofsson.
The language workshop can be seen as part of the university’s teaching, where Margareta Olofsson, together with her colleague Richard Nordberg provides support in the scientific writing process.
“Writing scientific texts is something you have to learn. Even if you have a feel for the language, knowledge and technique is required to get your message across. Writing scientifically is a big step from what you learned during your Swedish lessons when you were at school,” Margaret emphasizes.
Make an appointment or drop-in
Those students who feel they have difficulties in using the scientific methods have the possibility to make an appointment or drop-in to the language workshop in the Lise Meitner room in the library. Opening hours are Wednesdays and Thursdays. Primarily the language workshop is aimed at students with Swedish as their first or second language, but it also provides support in English. Proofreading, however, is not carried out.
“We are happy to discuss in which context the text should be, how it is best adapted to its purpose and target group. And to support the students to ensure that they follow a main narrative thread,” says Margareta Olofsson.
She divides her time between KTH and Karolinska Institutet where they have had a language workshop since 2003, which has become very popular. Her colleague Richard Nordberg also provides credit-earning elements in written and oral presentation integrated into compulsory courses within the ICT School’s educational programmes.
“It would be best if we could offer our expertise as a part of all undergraduate programmes at KTH. That would provide the best results for the quality of the degree projects and similar assignments. This is becoming increasingly more important, and The Swedish National Agency for Higher Education will be examining this also in their quality evaluations,” says Margareta Olofsson.
Relaxed language cafe
“Besides the language workshop - and all the regular language courses which the Department of Language and Communication offers - there are further language resources at KTH,” says language teacher Björn Kjellgren.
Each week day the language cafe arranges meetings for the students, who want to practice their language skills in a more relaxed manner with native speakers. For one hour at a time the room at the KTH library is buzzing with one of the following languages, Chinese, English, Japanese, French, Spanish, Italian, German or Swedish.
“We want the language cafes to be open forums where students can choose to eat their lunch, while getting a little language training. The talks are often about what it is like to study at colleges and universities outside of Sweden,” says Björn Kjellgren.
For six years now, the language programme Tandem has paired together students who need a language partner to practice with. The students fill out an online profile where they enter their first language and what language they want to practice, and a little bit about their personal interests. They then receive suggestions of possible language partners.
“Students with Swedish as their first language are in demand and an ongoing shortage in this context. Generally the Swedes are regarded as being a bit difficult to make contact with, which makes Tandem popular among our foreign students who wish to practice their everyday Swedish,” says Björn Kjellgren.
Text: Magnus Trogen