Something occurred to me during our ’08 Christmas party. I was pleasantly surprised to see students of all levels giving it there best to chat away in English to each other. I was proud to see some of the lower levels mixing it with the higher levels. I realized that most of the students do have the confidence to speak to each other, if they are put in the ideal situation – such as a room full of other Smith’s School of English students!! I believe it is a bigger job to get some of these speakers actually into that ideal situation. Every one likes parties, but I could tell some students were hesitant to accept the invitation to the part as they thought I might do something horribly mean like ask them to actually speak a little bit of English in front of someone other than their teacher (either Adam or myself). However after countless assurances that I would never be so cruel, we ended up with about 20 students attend what was a most enjoyable evening.
I believe that these social situations are so very important to the development of my students English ability and English conversation confidence. Too many times I have heard stories from my students about vacations or events that are perfect opportunities to practice their English only to miss the chance due to a lack of confidence. So, believing in the old saying “practice makes perfect” I decided to provide a regular social evening of English conversation…. and the Sakai Higashi Coffee Conversation Club was born!!
Simply, one evening a month, free of charge, I let my students know that I will be enjoying a coffee at a local cafe at a particular time and encourage them to join me. It is not a lesson, but it is practice. I am more than happy to explore my local cafes, and learn from my students knowledge and experiences. I will be trying to bring a different native english speaker along with me every time, to keep things interesting.
Last Saturday was our first coffee together at Holly’s Cafe in Sakai Higashi. Seven students turned up to improve their English. I am happy with this number for the first meeting. After I promote the evenings a little more through pictures on the classroom walls I sure that numbers will grow, along with my student’s English ability. This will make me a very happy English conversation teacher.
Smith’s School of English Sakai Higashi and Nakamozu