How to organize an English speaking club
A speaking club is fundamentally different from an English language course. The main characteristics of English conversation clubs are as follows:
- The aim of a discussion club in English is development, first and foremost, of speaking skills and, to a lesser extent, of listening skills. Reading and writing skills at meetings of conversation clubs are completely ignored, as well as explanation of phonetic, grammar and lexical rules of the English language.
- Meetings of a discussion club in English are not related to each other thematically, so a participant can skip one of them without affecting the entire programme of the course.
The following are recommendations for organization of an English speaking club, based on our practical experience, but by no means are the absolute truth.
1. It is not necessary to explain why the venue of a conversation club in English should be comfortable for all participants. We only note that creation of an atmosphere, which favours a pleasant communication, can be facilitated by a dim lighting. It distracts attention of participants of an English speaking club from details of the interior and appearance of their interlocutors, which helps to concentrate better on the discussion.
2. Regarding to the number of participants of an English speaking club, the “golden rule” should be followed: when more than 9 people gather, the joint discussion inevitably splits into several conversations. Thus, without taking into account the host, no more than 8 people should be present at a meeting of an English speaking club at a time.
3. Most English speaking clubs practice to inform their participants in advance about the topic of the upcoming meeting, but we do not recommend to follow this practice! First, a meeting of a conversation club should as much as possible stage the real situation of a spontaneous discussion with an English-speaking interlocutor. Secondly, complete lack of preparation makes the brain work faster, “lifting deep layers of knowledge to the surface”, including from the subconscious. Thirdly, as our experience shows, a regular participant of a English conversation club can skip a meeting only because he/she did not prepare, or come, but feels timid.