The Basha Buddy project which began on July 14, 2021, has now expanded, with the buddies growing up to 75 people to serve the more than 300 people who have applied to obtain assistance with their use of English. This had been restricted to texting so far, on WhatsApp and Facebook messenger.
As the next step, we are now broadening out this programme to include a speaking practice component, which might be enormously helpful during this pandemic time when interpersonal connections are limited – and even otherwise, as many may not have a chance to communicate in English within their own social contexts.
Those who qualify:
- The speaking platform will be open to the applicants who have been texting a buddy at least for four weeks and have shown commitment to do the work it entails. Buddies will be consulted as to the suitability of their partners to be entered into the next level. Hopefully, this would be everyone who had applied to this program and were given a chance to text their buddies once a week. (There are many more in the waiting list to be contacted. Please be patient till we come to you).
- One applicant will now get three months of practice (not four as originally planned). For about half of this (4 – 6 weeks) it will be only texting, the other half will be for both texting and speech. So, while the applicants have a once-a-week speaking exposure in the second half of the programme, they will continue to be connected to their text buddy who will not be the same person as the speech partner, which means one applicant will get the service of two buddies at this point.
- Speech practice will be on a zoom call. It will be set up by the Buddies using their Basha Buddy credentials (i.e. without using their real names or identity). The zoom link will be sent to the email of the applicant.
- The cameras of both the buddies and the applicants should remain turned off. The buddies’ names come as Buddy 12 etc. or the assumed FB profile names.
- It will be a discussion in which two buddies will deal with two or more applicants. Therefore, while they get one-to-one text practice, speech practice will be done in a small group, which will also give applicants a chance to learn conversation etiquette like turn taking, polite interruptions, disagreeing in a civil tone and so on.
- The length of the speech session will be decided by the participants.
- The available times – you can choose one from two choices:
First session – 6.30 a.m. or 7 a.m. (this is for those who have to report to work afterwards)
Second session – 3 p.m.
These session times are given not only to make it easy for the Basha Buddies who are volunteering their services free of charge, but to also see if those who are truly committed to improving themselves through improving whatever skill they have, are willing to put in the effort it entails. With such commitment, the Basha Buddies might be able to make at least a little difference in your ability to use English, by providing a safe, non-judgmental practice space for you to practice, both in texting and speech.
Visit The Basha Buddy Page: http://fhss.sjp.ac.lk/bhasha-buddy/