why I love speaking clubs.

What I really love about the speaking clubs is 2 things, basically:

  • you never know which way the discussion will take you, and –
  • you learn such a lot from the clubbers while they discover a great deal from you…

Last week I was mostly absent from the virtual world as I was busy starting a conversational club. Its second session received most favourable feedback from the participants, which is why I decided to share its plan and the accompanying materials – so you could  use it  next year – or this year, may be – why not?

The Friday of  March 18th was  devoted to Saint Patrick’s day – yet, you can’t imagine the variety of topics we touched upon!  Here’s what we did (including the links to songs and downloadable materials).

1.Watch the St Patrick’s Day parade. Spectacular and hilarious.

2. What is Saint Patrick‘s day all about? –  a PowerPoint presentation (easy!) from http://www.worldofteaching.com
and the  wikpedia link (for the more  inquisitive ones). The symbols of this day, the shamrock, the leprechauns and the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow… We ended up with the Irish traditional cuisine and noted down a recipe of the Irish stew – and then discussed it.  What’s more, our ladies soon switched to discussing the healthy and unhealthy food, and we learned a lot from Marina – a biologist – about metabolism!

3. Speaking of food – the sad matters now:  Sinead O’Connor’s condemning song about the famine in Ireland. Or was there any? Acute issues were raised during a hectic discussion followed. Download the lyrics

4. Back to the funny side of life again. The Irish are outstanding! Witty, violent and full of other virtues 🙂 Can you do this quiz based on the great quotes about the Irish by famous people?

5. To finish on the high – we sang another song by Irish Rovers – The Unicorn Song. It bears little connection with Saint Patrick,  – it’s just a lovely song by an Irish folk group. Get your SS to listen and read and find out why Unicorns have disappeared… While listening, we ate cookies with green jam, drank the famous Russian tarragon-flavoured  green soft drink and had green tea with green apples.

Can you believe it – the whole thing only took us a little over 2 hours (all  participants were intermediate). The student talking time and engagement was great – I guess, that was  due to the variety of subjects discussed, and I also made sure there was lots of small group interaction.


2 comments on “why I love speaking clubs.

  1. Osman says:

    I love speaking class! You have done a great job Kate. Congratulations! It is not easy to keep the conversation going for two hours. Students are easily bored if they don’t find the topics interesting. Even if they find it interesting, they may not wish to participate for some God-knows-why reasons. I guess, the more time we devote to preparations, the more qualified lesson gets and learning happens.

    • waykate says:

      Thank you Osman. This lesson took me about as long as it lasted to prepare. Anyway, I believe variety has a lot to do with keeping the SS interested. By variety I also mean contrast. We cannot keep laughing for 2 hours – nor can we remain serious for a long time. The important skill is – however good and detailed the plan is – to be alert to the energy levels and to know when to stop an activity and go over to another one. In whole-group discussion a student may be too wordy/ too slow – and here’s, again, the point where the leader should have enough tact to help the discussion evolve without shutting up the student. By the way – when SS start yawning, it does not necessarily mean they are bored! 🙂 It may simply be a sign of a lack of oxygen and (or) glucose as their brain has been working intensively – a good sign, that is! Having a tea with cookies + airing the classroom + getting up and doing something physical will help, then. 🙂

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s