Language Coaching | Duke Kunshan University

Language Coaching

The WLS provides guidance and support for language learning to all Duke Kunshan students, staff, and faculty. Our coaches can help learners develop plans to improve their language skills; guide them on setting short-term and long-term goals; provide feedback on their learning strategies and language use; recommend resources for independent learning; and help them practice specific language skills, such as reading, listening, pronunciation, and so forth.

We provide coaching services for Mandarin Chinese, English, and several additional languages. When you make an appointment for language coaching, you will be able to select the language you are learning. If the language you want coaching in is not listed, you may select “Other Languages.” You will then be able to make an appointment with a coach who may not have expertise in the specific language you are learning, but the coach will be happy to provide general guidance on your learning plan, goals, and strategies.

Note for Fall 2020

We are pleased to be able to offer both face-to-face and online coaching in writing and language learning during the Fall Semester. Leaners can make appointments in our scheduling system. Please see “How to make an appointment” section below for detailed instructions.

How to prepare for your language coaching session

First-time users of the WLS for language learning (not English writing) should ideally have an initial consultation with the WLS Coordinator before signing up for a session. Coaching sessions work best when you have specific goals that you are working towards. If you don’t have goals, we can help you set some.

How to make an appointment

To make an appointment, please visit our online scheduling system.

This quick tutorial will help you schedule an appointment online:

  • Log into the system with your NetID and password. If you do not have a NetID, please contact us at DKU_WLS@dukekunshan.edu.cn;
  • If you haven’t registered an account with the WLS yet, you will need to fill out the registration form to complete registration;

To schedule an appointment:

  • Select “Writing and Language Studio” when prompted to choose a schedule.
  • Select coach type from the box at the top of the page:
  • Time blocks in different colors show the availability of our coaches: White blocks are available time slots, blue blocks are booked time slots, and black blocks are unavailable time slots. Each block represents 15 minutes. Appointments can only start at :00 and :30.
  • Click on a white time slot for the time at which you want to meet with that coach.
  • When you click on a white time slot for a specific coach, you can view that coach’s bio in the appointment window.
  • Fill in the form, and save the appointment.
  • If you are making an appointment for face-to-face coaching, please plan on arriving at the appointment approximately five minutes early.
  • If you are making an appointment for online coaching, please join the personal meeting room if your coach has specified a Zoom ID in their bio. If there isn't a Zoom ID, please log back in to the system approximately five to ten minutes before the start of your appointment. Then, open your appointment by clicking on the orange block, and enter the online meeting room by clicking "Start or Join Online Consultation." (The meeting room will take some time to load.)
  • If connection fails, please try the following troubleshooting guide to help you establish connection:
    • Turn your VPN off.
    • Use a different browser.
    • If you have trouble with audio/video, make sure you have selected "Yes" or "Allow" so that your browser can share your webcam and microphone. If needed, make sure your camera and microphone are not being used by another program on your computer.
    • Reopen the appointment window in case you have been timed out
    • If you still cannot access the meeting room, please contact your coach, whose email address is available in the appointment confirmation email.
  • After the session, your chat transcript and whiteboard content will be saved in this online meeting. You can always view them by opening your appointment and go to “Start or Join Online Consultation." You can also download any notes written on the whiteboard during your session, which your coach can help you with.

Frequently Asked Questions

How can I sign up for a coaching session?

There are two ways to sign up for a coaching session: (1) through our online scheduling system, or (2) in person at the WLS Office in CC 1068.

What kinds of sessions can I sign up for?

You can sign up for writing coaching or for language coaching in Mandarin Chinese, English, or another language listed in the online scheduling system. Language coaching sessions could focus on, for example, speaking and listening, presentation skills, pronunciation, reading, vocabulary, and/or grammar. For languages that are not listed in the system, you are welcome to sign up for an “Other Languages” coaching session, in which the coach can provide general guidance on learning plans, goals, and strategies for a language that they may not have expertise in.

How long are the coaching sessions?

You may sign up for a 30-minute or a 45-minute coaching session. All coaching sessions include time at the end of the session to review and summarize the work that was done. For example, a 30-minute session includes a maximum of 25 minutes for coaching, with 5 minutes for the coach to complete a session summary with the learner.

When can I sign up for appointments?

You can make appointments up to 14 days in advance.

How often can I have coaching sessions?

At this time, you may sign up for one coaching session per day.

What should I prepare before my coaching session?

Our coaching sessions are more productive when you have specific goals that you are working towards. If you haven’t set any goals, we can help you do so. The appointment form will also guide you towards identifying one or more goals for your session. For writing coaching sessions, we are happy to help you wherever you are in your writing process. First-time users of the WLS for language coaching (not English writing) should ideally have an initial consultation with the WLS Coordinator before signing up for a session.

Do I need to have an appointment? Can I walk in if a coach is shown as available on WCONLINE?

If you weren’t able to make an appointment in advance but would still like to meet with a coach, you may be able to have a walk-in session, depending on coach availability. Please view the coaching schedule for that day on WCONLINE and go directly to an available coach’s location (specified on the appointment webpage) at a time the coach is shown as available. You may also see the WLS Coordinator, Xueyi Yuan, in CC 1068. She will direct you to an available coach. Walk-in appointments are available on a first come, first served basis.

Can I get help on a class assignment in a coaching session?

If you have questions about or need help understanding a class assignment, the first thing you should do is talk to your professor. If you need additional help on a class assignment, you may bring the assignment to a coaching session. Coaches will provide you guidance on the skills you need to complete the assignment, or feedback on presentations, but they will not complete,  edit, check, or proofread assignments for you. If you would like a coach to help you with a writing assignment, please schedule an appointment at least four hours before the assignment is due so that you have enough time to work on the writing after the coaching session; it’s best to schedule your writing appointment at least a day before the writing assignment is due.

Can the writing coaches proofread/edit my essay?

We are happy to answer specific questions about an essay that you are working on. However, we do not provide editing or proofreading services. Our goal is to help you develop the skills you need to examine and improve your own writing.

I need to show my professor that I attended a coaching session. What can I do?

At the end of your coaching session, your coach will work with you to write a brief summary of your session. This summary will be emailed to you, and you may share it with your professor if you want to.

If I meet with a WLS writing coach, will I get an A on my paper?

WLS coaches can help you develop your writing skills, but they cannot guarantee your grades on writing assignments. Because DKU courses and writing assignments have a wide range of learning objectives, it is not possible for writing coaches to assess your writing assignments or give any indication of what grade you might receive. If you want to know more about what the expectations are for A-level work on any of your assignments, talk to your course professor.

Can the WLS help me change a grade I received on a writing assignment?

Courses at DKU and writing assignments have a wide range of learning objectives. Your course professors are the ones who will determine how they assess your writing assignments and give you grades. Just as one professor can’t change grades for a course they are not teaching, WLS coaches also can’t grade your papers. Our coaches will not comment on grades you receive on your papers. We can help you determine how to respond to feedback you receive on your writing, but if you need help interpreting the feedback you receive from a professor on an assignment, or if you have a question about a grade you have received, you need to talk to your course professor as they are the one who has determined the learning objectives and expectations for their assignments.