The Design building on the Bellville campus has a new Communication and Language Centre.
Situated on the first floor of the building, the Language Centre contains 30 computers equipped with language programmes, several language book resources and tutors on hand to help with computer and language needs.
Opened earlier this year with the help of the Financial Aid Office who sponsored three lab assistants and two tutors, the Language Centre has been offering help to Applied Sciences students for several months.
Applied Sciences Faculty Language Co-ordinator Dr Ignatius Ticha said students signed in 3180 times to use the lab, “so we have already achieved maximum usage of space,” said Ticha. The lab has been used for staff meetings, a reading quiz, training workshops and classes on two of the computer programmes aimed at improving students’ reading skills. Postgraduate students affiliated to Applied Sciences also asked for help on proposal and thesis writing.
Most of the students used the space to complete assignments or do research. The main function of the Language Centre is to provide language related services in a multilingual context. Posters about sign language dominate the walls and resource books touch on several South African and African languages.
Feedback from students who accessed the Readers are Leaders and Read and Write computer programmes is encouraging and Ticha says they will extend access to both programmes to the District Six campus during 2020.
Read and Write is a literacy support tool that works across platforms and audience members watching a demonstration of the programme were impressed by its potential use by special needs students.
The main function of the Readers are Leaders programme is to develop students’ reading speed and comprehension to the level necessary to cope with university material.
“It will grow into something useful for our faculty,” said Ticha proudly before Prof Joseph Kioko, Assistant Dean of the Faculty of Applied Sciences, declared the Language Centre open.
Kioko reminded attendees that language is not just a neutral collection of words, they have meaning. “This laboratory is about skills. The world we live in now is different to the world we learn in. Things have changed and with that the ways the students must learn. This Centre has skills and resources that will allow lecturers to teach the students to survive in this new world,” said Kioko.
Written by Theresa Smith