During the Fall of 2009 I was appointed director of the Global Language & Culture Center, which replaced the former Language Laboratory attached to the Department of Languages & Literatures of St. Johns College.
Since then, the center has evolved from a lab where students learnt by way of language technology facing a screen, to a place where , in addition to using technology, they can practice what they are learning in class and hone their language skills with real people -tutors or other classmates and study partners - in a convivial atmosphere.
Tutoring is one of the services offered , but the center also aims to create an environment of mini immersion in the language and culture being studied, with workshops on specific topics, conversation tables, cultural events and activities, and movies or documentaries in the target language.
We currently employ 37 tutors at the center. These are native , near-native speakers , or advanced students of the target language recruited among the top students of a class. We tutor in the 14 languages offered at St. John's: Arabic, Chinese, ESL, French, German, Ancient Greek, Modern Greek, Hindi, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Latin, Portuguese and Spanish.
We constantly strive to improve the center and its services, working with faculty from the Department of Languages & Literatures on new projects, new offerings, the selection of our tutors, methodologies for their training, accurate ways of evaluating their work.
Their evaluation by students now takes place online and, for maximum response, is administered the same day that faculty are evaluated each semester in class.
We recently incorporated the use of an email service - for students who cannot come to the center due to work commiments but need to get GLCC assignments corrected and questions answered-, and a skype service to communicate with other linguistic communities across the world.
I would just like to include this excerpt from an article taken from the New York Times on the benefits of tutoring for the improvement of student performance in any subject, that validates the objectives of the GLCC:
The Global Language and Culture Center Bulletin Description
The Global Language and Culture Center, located in rooms 104, 105 and 106, St. John Hall, is a state-of-the-art language resource center where students, registered or not in a language class, come to practice one of the 14 languages currently offered at St John’s University. Through immersion and interaction, with the help of trained language specialists, they build on the language skills acquired in the classroom in a convivial and pressure-free atmosphere .
The Center offers large seating areas in a library-like setting for studying and group gathering. It is equipped with individual language pods, computers, large screen TVs and reference material.
Students can receive individual tutoring to improve their grades, or engage in group activities under the guidance of a tutor or graduate assistant: grammar, pronunciation and writing workshops, or round table conversations in the target language. They can watch foreign TV channels on large screens and attend lectures and cultural events held there during the academic year .
The Center also administers language placement testing for students interested in majoring or minoring in a Romance language.
The GLCC Programs and Services
- language practice
- Language tutoring
- Accent reduction and pronunciation enhancement workshops
- Grammar and writing workshops
- Test preparation workshops
- Round table conversations
- Cultural orientations for the Discover The World and Semester Abroad Programs in Rome, Paris and Salamanca
- Foreign movie nights with presentation and follow up discussions
- Language club meetings and events
- Induction ceremonies and events for Language Honor Societies
- Lectures and cultural events
- Video and audio language collections
- Foreign magazines, periodicals and language reference material
- Access to foreign language TV channels
Advisement on studying for languages
Advisement on language courses at St John’s
- Language placement testing
A Weekly Hour of Language Practice at the Center
For all language classes offered by St. John’s College Department of Languages & Literatures the former language laboratory requirement has been replaced with a fourth hour spent at the Center to put into practice what has been learned during the three hours of weekly classroom instruction.
At the Center, students can join a variety of workshops, engage in group activities under the supervision of a tutor or a graduate assistant, receive individual tutoring to improve their grades, participate in round table conversations in the target language, attend language events, or simply watch foreign TV channels or videos. Language placement testing, required for admission to a language class, is also administered at the Center .
Come for an individual or a group tutoring session. Come to study for your language classes on your own, or with a study partner.
Become a regular at the Center and increase your proficiency in one or several foreign languages to set the ground for future travel abroad and open windows on your world
Appointments are needed for tutoring sessions
A first-time appointment for a tutoring session requires the creation of an account with a user name and password which can be used to log in for subsequent appointments.
From the home page of St..John’s Central
www.stjohns.edu/central, go to the Global Language & Culture Center Appointment section, click on “Make an Appointment”, and create your account to log in .
Comments from GLCC Users:
“Please accept my sincerest appreciation for having made the Global Language & Culture Center a very positive learning experience for my students.” Prof. Charles Rocco
“Confronting the challenges of a new language is always easier among peers. Everyone makes mistakes. At the GLCC it’s more friendly and comfortable.” Alma Rodriguez, tutor.
“To tell you the truth I was dreading the whole once a week tutoring thing when I first found out about it. You really made it fun. Next semester I’ll definitely come back.” Daniel Capeau, student.
Center Hours and Location:
Mondays, Tuesdays and Thursdays : 9am-7pm
St. John Hall, Rooms 104, 105, 106
Reception Tel. 718 990 6293