The Writing and Language Studio (WLS) offers coaching in both writing and language learning. We also regularly host Language Tables. Please visit our events page for information about special events and workshops.
We offer one-on-one coaching to all Duke Kunshan students, staff, and faculty. Our coaching areas include writing, and language learning in Mandarin Chinese, English, and several additional languages. You will be able to see which languages are available when you sign up for an appointment. You can also read our team member bios to see the languages each coach works with.
WLS writing coaches provide writing support to all Duke Kunshan students, staff, and faculty. Our writing coaches come from different academic backgrounds and are familiar with a variety of writing styles and formats. Although our writing coaches are not editors, they can help with any stage of the writing process, from initial brainstorming, to structural revisions, to putting finishing touches on a final draft.
How to prepare for your writing coaching sessions
We are happy to help you wherever you are in your writing process. Keep in mind that our coaching sessions are more productive when you have specific goals that you are working towards. If you don’t have goals in mind, we can help you set some.
Important guidelines for writing coaching
Our goal is to help you develop the skills you need to examine and improve your own writing. Therefore, we do not provide editing or proofreading services. We will not coach writers on EAP course assignments. If you need help on an EAP assignment, please consult your EAP professor.
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 plans, goals, and strategies.
How to prepare for your language coaching session
First-time users of the WLS for language learning (not 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.
Make an appointment
To make an appointment, please visit our online scheduling system.
This quick tutorial will help you schedule an appointment online:
- Register for an account
- Log in to your registered account
- 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. Please click on a white time slot for which you want to meet with a 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.
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 Welcome Desk next to CC 1070.
What kind 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 s/he 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. A 30-minute session includes a maximum of 25 minutes for coaching, with at least 5 minutes for the coach to complete reports and get ready for the next session.
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. 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 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, Shuhan Li, at the WLS Welcome Desk (near CC1070). 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 or need help on 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 an assignment, or feedback on presentations, but they will not edit/check/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. Please note that our coaches will not coach learners on EAP course assignments. If you need help on an EAP assignment, please consult your EAP professor.
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.
Throughout the academic year, the Writing and Language Studio hosts informal language tables during the weekday lunch and dinner hours. These tables are open to all members of the Duke Kunshan community and provide a space for participants to learn, practice, and use a language with other students/staff/faculty in an informal environment. They are different from language classes that teach people grammar, vocabulary, pronunciation, and so forth. The language tables aim to improve people’s communication competence in the target language, advance their intercultural communication skills, and promote the value of multilingualism.
Locations: Academic Building Cafeteria and Zaatar Halal Dining Hall in the Conference Center
Languages: Cantonese, English, French, German, Japanese, Korean, Mandarin, Russian, Sichuanese, Spanish, Suzhounese … more languages coming soon!
Join a Language Table
Language Tables are open to all members of the Duke Kunshan community and are completely voluntary. There is no registration or prerequisite needed to join a table. While regular participation is welcomed and encouraged, it is not required.
The Language Table schedule is updated weekly. Please visit Duke Kunshan Engage for the latest schedule.
Call for Language Table Facilitators
If you are interested in facilitating a language table by yourself or co-facilitating with others, please contact the Writing and Language Studio.
Advantages of being a language table facilitator
Leading a language table is a great way to practice your facilitation and communication skills. It is also a great opportunity to meet students, staff, and faculty members who are interested in learning about a language and culture you know well.
Facilitators should be proficient speakers of the language, with a good understanding of its communication norms, grammar, and vocabulary. Facilitators should also be willing to help those who are trying to learn a new language.
Facilitators are not required to prepare any lesson plans or materials for language tables. However, especially if a table has a lot of beginning-level learners, we encourage the facilitator to brainstorm some topics to talk about for each session as well as some basic grammatical patterns and phrases for participants to learn.
Each language table will meet once a week or once every other week, depending on interest and on facilitator schedules.