Updates: Café des Langues II

Organization of the first Café des Langues, 15/3/2023

Since December 2023, the Café des Langues has been held twice in different locations. Being a nonprofit event, one key element for the event is the price: free for all participants. This led to difficulties when searching for a place; although many associations were warm to the idea of hosting a Café des Langues, the (1) minimal participation and (2) rental costs made it difficult to be able to host an event for free. The spaces for the first two events were free of charge and allowed the participants a lot of space to speak freely in foreign languages. The organizing team has been looking for a stable location to be used for each Café des Langues, so as to focus less on finding a place for each event, and focus more on improving the quality of informal language learning within these Cafés and differentiating the activities to appeal to a wider range of learning personalities.

Data Analysis from First Post-Café Questionnaire

After the first Café des Langues, a questionnaire was sent out, to which 17 participants (half the total number of participants) responded, and of those 17 people, 4 admitted to having technological problems and did not complete the questionnaire. Due to the nature of their abandonment, it was decided to keep the data that they inputted. The data results are reported in graphs and charts below this section.

One question had to be omitted because in the question, “How likely are you to do another Café des Langues?”, the question was followed by a “1 = not at all, 2 = absolutely” whereas the question was a FIVE-point scale, not a binary scale. Due to the inability to interpret the results with accuracy, the question had to be discarded. However, all other questions were valid, and their results are below.

It was reported that the participants who responded to the survey were very pleased with the event, as many came back for the second Café, which was planned with only a week’s notice. The difficulties for the first Café were the difficulty to find the place (inaccessible), the difficulty to practice another language other than English, and the worry for the ability to keep the event free. Among the most praised aspects of the café were the ambiance, the freedom (free choice and free movement), the time (later for people who work), the ability to practice their language skills (albeit mostly English), and the welcome. Suggestions made concerned mostly organizing theme-based activities with the themes given ahead of time to allow for participants to work on vocabulary and writing, putting in place different activities for the participants to interact with throughout the event, and flags or something representative to indicate what languages are spoken at each table, s that people may better organize themselves.

After the Café, before each person left, informal feedback was collected one-on-one with one of the organizers. Participants reported that the event space was a bit too “office” like for their liking, and that sometimes it got too noisy, which affected those with hearing handicaps. They were impressed by the rigor in design, welcome, and organization. They said they would like to see games and activities be put in place so as to have a choice in what they want to do. Lastly, they hope to be able to invite more people and divide up into small groups that shift every quarter-hour to mix up the groups, and therefore, the topics of conversation among different social classes.

After the second Café des Langues (in the park), another informal feedback collection was had, during which participants noted the difficulty to find the place and their desire to practice more languages than English, especially with native speakers. The idea of language practice through videoconferencing was proposed, and the idea of a Language Challenge competition was explained (see end of this post). However, they were pleased with the simplicity of the event, and the new encounters made. After the sixth Café des Langues, a new questionnaire will be sent out to see how the new places and activities proposed meet the expectations of the participants. The sixth Café des Langues will be at the end of June 2023.

Organization of the second Café des Langues, 28/04/2023

As of April 28th, 2023, the Café des Langues is pleased to announce two host locations for the future Cafés:

  1. The Roof (Hôtel Dieu)
  2. ESS Cargo et CIE (Université Rennes 2)

This means that there will now be TWO Cafés des Langues per month, alternating between the two locations. The organizing teamintends on making one during the week, one on weekends, to make it possible to reach a greater number of people and inspire more ideas from the participants.


What we have noticed is that the participants are starting to branch out and invite friends to the Cafés. For now, only two participants have suggested workshops or competitions they would like to see happen within the framework of the Café des Langues, one being a regional language challenge, and the other being a videoconference with international people in different languages. As the language challenge requires more people (including native judges), that is set as a second-year possibility for the Café des Langues. However, the international videoconferencing sessions are relatively simple to set up, so they are planned for the 4th Café des Langues on May 27th. For now, English, Spanish, and German international speakers will be present, but Chinese, Japanese, Turkish, Finnish, Ukrainian, and Italian participants have also agreed to take part in the videoconferencing activity, should there be participants who want to take part in the event. ✺

Important links:

Cite this blog post
Brendan Geer (2023, May 1). Updates: Café des Langues II. Confidence: language learning. Retrieved June 25, 2024, from https://doi.org/10.58079/vvqc

Brendan Geer

Language teaching expert and researcher in language confidence. Founder of Prism: Language Confidence. Also director of the HeOnTe online teaching program, co-director of the Rennes Café des Langues, and cat dad.

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