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Chatloop – app-based English language practice

The lack of regular communicative language practice outside of the AMEP classroom and other Settlement Services’ programs has been identified as one of the major obstacles preventing recently arrived migrants from achieving their desired levels of English proficiency.

Chatloop aims to plug the gap by connecting people from refugee backgrounds to volunteers via a messaging app for convenient English practice. The language learners connect to a trained volunteer and together they have a chat or play a game through text and audio messages. These communicative activities can last for over a week, because they only send one or two messages a day. When the activity is finished, the learners are immediately connected with a new partner, for another activity. In this way, the languages learners get a constant drip feed of communicative language practice, upholding the second language acquisition maxim of “a little bit each day”.

We’ve piloted the Chatloop concept using the off-the-shelf messaging app WhatsApp. This pilot program has been limited in scale, but the results have been very positive. Our next step is to build a Chatloop app to increase privacy and remove scale limitations. We look forward to cooperating with SCoA members to make Chatloop’s communicative language practice accessible to people from refugee backgrounds.

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