The Conversation Tree: Community-Based Language Partnerships is a program created by Rutgers Graduate School of Education and The Collaborative Center for Community-Based Research and Service. Through partnerships with community-based organizations, The Conversation Tree supports existing English as a Second Language (ESL) programs and provides new opportunities for adult learners to practice English conversation in an informal setting.
Since The Conversation Tree’s launch in Spring 2012, 73 Rutgers students have served just under 3,000 hours interacting with more than 400 community members at a total of nine different Community Partner sites. Additionally, The Conversation Tree has developed three academic service-learning courses. Currently, The Conversation Tree is providing Professional Development in partnership with community-based organizations interested in training their own volunteers in implementing the Conversation Café model.
The Conversation Café is an informal conversation group for community members of all levels of English. Participants from the community engage in one-on-one or small-group conversations with English speakers discussing a variety of topics. Free-flowing conversation includes topics and features of the English language of interest to community members. In this safe setting, adult learners experience the spontaneity of real-world conversation while polishing their skills. English conversation partners are prepared to facilitate intercultural conversations through academic courses and professional development offered by the Graduate School of Education.