English conversation coaching is what I do 6 days a week. From Monday’s first English lesson until Saturday night’s last lesson I coach Japanese students of the English Language at Smith’s School of English Kyobashi (スミス 英会話 京橋) I have always been interested in why Japanese people want to study English. Recently I have been asking my students why and the answers often surprise me. Here is one. Community.
In some cases students say they are not really sure why they want to study but they just want to. These students come along to Smith’s English schools all over Japan and usually enjoy a lesson once a week. They are not in a hurry to become expert speakers of English but they do their homework and do their best in the classroom. Most of all they seem to enjoy the company of the teacher and fellow students. I began to wonder, “what would happen if we offered these students a free get together on regular occasions, would they come simply to enjoy each other’s company speaking English?”
At Smith’s Kyobashi we began to offer regular “Get Together” events. These are not parties, we don’t play games or have guessing competitions, we just get together for a chat and some simple food. We held 3 English get together events between September and December 2009. It has been said that some of the names I chose were not so fantastic and I have to agree, I could have done better but I promise you the atmosphere at these events was fantastic. We had a “Wine and Cheese” night, then a “Beer and Curry” night and finally for 2009 a “Sausage and Beer” night. I am very pleased to say that these events were a great success.
To me there are a couple of important points to the success of these get together events. 1. The events be cheap to run and very easy to put together for the school. 2. We do not charge the students any money. The events are free. 3. Make sure the invitations go out a couple of weeks before the event.
That’s about it. The rest? How do we ensure our guests have fun? ….well the students do that all by themselves.