Sunday, December 20, 2015

Language laboratories hone soft skills of college students

Language laboratories hone soft skills of college students

The labs employ audio-visual tools, no structured courses

MUMBAI: When Rahul Pandey got admission to Jai Hind College a few years ago, he couldn’t adjust to the new environment. Pandey, who studied at the Mohan Bhagat Hindi School, Vasai was having a hard time communicating with his teachers and his class mates, who preferred English.
“I could understand them, but wasn’t able to speak their language,” he recalls.
Today, the Science graduate has been placed at Infosys and speaks English effortlessly. He gives credit, in part, to the college’s ‘language lab’.
The language labs, which teach the basics of languages and help students develop their soft skills are fast gaining popularity in city colleges. Presently, around 30 students are learning at Jai Hind College’s language lab, compared to 15 when the facility began its operations a couple of years ago. KC College, which started its ‘Bhashas Lab’ in June, has already catered to 200 students. The first such lab was established in Xavier’s College in 2006.
“Many students come to the lab to brush up their presentation and communication skills, before appearing for interviews,” said Jyoti More, who heads the language lab at Xavier’s. “When I saw a notice about a presentation workshop being held by the lab during the vacation, I readily enrolled myself. It turned out to be very helpful,” said Sharon Lobo, a BA student at the college.
The lab also offers training programmes in French, Hindi and Marathi. On the other hand, KC College’s Bhashas Lab offers modules in seven languages.
The colleges employ audio visual tools and computer software. The labs, usually don’t have structured courses. “The students simply walk in, and we mentor them in an informal way,” said Jyothi, a professor at Jai Hind College. The services are provided free of cost.
The colleges, too, take efforts to identify and enrol students who seem to be struggling with English. In fact, such students have to attend mandatory sessions at the language lab in Xavier’s college.
“We select some first year students based on a diagnostic test, conducted at the beginning of the academic year. Then we try to improve their reading, writing, listening and speaking skills,” said More.

Source: Hindustan Times dated 21 December, 2015

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