The other day I had one of the best discussion club sessions ever. From my point of view, the point of English Club is to get people talking. There aren't that many opportunities for English language students here to actually use the English language in a non-classroom setting. So I try to create an environment where people can speak freely. I don't like to do lessons or have overly controlled exercises and activities. The best sessions are where students talk about whatever they want to, and try to express their opinions or tell stories.
And we achieved that last Monday. A group of about 7 women showed up, a few regulars and a few new faces. Most were university students. And they really just chatted. I had planned to discuss tort law and frivolous law suits, but I opened by asking if they had seen the Opening Ceremony of the Asian Winter Games. We talked about what they liked in the ceremony, and that led to talking about winter sports. One girl talked about a hockey match she had watched on TV. Then we got into sport in general. At this point, I wasn't even talking. They were chatting away with each other. Somehow the conversation turned to jobs and their future professions, which led to one girl talking about how she uses English in her work at a hotel. And suddenly it was 8pm. I think all I said through the whole hour and a half was: "Did you watch the Ceremonies? What was your favorite part? What is your favorite winter sport?" Great chance to use English for authentic communication in a fairly natural setting!
By the way, it occurs to me that I have never given the details of my English Club here. So if you are in Astana and want some practice speaking English in an informal setting, we have English Club at the ACCELS office:
Beibitshilik 18 (Fabrika Manshuk Mametovoi) Office 409. Monday 6:30-8pm. Free of charge. No need to sign up, just come and participate.