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Plokhatinova
06-10-2009, 11:17
Hello everybody! My name is Elena. I'm planning to organize an English Club in a little town near Kazan. Does anyone knows the peculiarities of such kinds of clubs??? From what to start? I've already found the native speakers and the place to hold the classes. I've got so many questions! How to plan this 1,5 hour to make people WANT to express their thoughts in English, to make every single member not just sit and listen to the native speaker and others, but feel free to speak, create a casual, friendly atmosphere?
Does it make any sence to divide people into grupes as per their level or age? Or just invite everybody who can express their opinion without help of the Russian language? How do you think?
What are the main difficulties when organizing such Clubs???
Yeah, in the Internet there are lots of materials, interesting themes to discuss, but I wanna get professional advise? Can you share your experience? Thank you very much beforehand!

Bels
08-10-2009, 21:42
Having already native speakers to have visits is a good start. Are they experienced or qualified teachers I am not sure. I am sure they will be taking this an interest to meet Russian people or to find students for themselves. Will they stick it out. You won't know if you don't continue. Just assess and plan the situation as it arises. Promote those who are second language speakers to speak to the native speaker and develop from there. When it looks a success then start planning together as you see it. Just do it.

Larry Paradine
08-10-2009, 22:01
Plokhatinova, if you've already found a place to hold your meetings, you've vaulted the biggest hurdle; if, that is, the venue isn't in an educational institution. I've been trying to organise an English discussion club for several weeks but, although several institutes (to be exact, our university , 2 местные филиала universities in Moscow and St. Petersburg, our пединститут, our сельхозяайственная акедемия) have agreed to let me use their premises for free, the catch is that I can only invite their students, which nullifies the whole purpose of a discussion club, i.e. inviting anyone and everyone who has an opinion about something and is prepared to talk about it in public (and in English). Our public library, which has recently been extensively (and expensively) renovated and refurbished, offered me the use of their wonderful new, air conditioned (!) conference room but retracted the offer when someone said it was against some planning regulations. So: you've got the premises, I advise you to go full steam ahead and learn from experience. Good luck!

Bels
08-10-2009, 22:07
Yes keep moving and allow the problems to arise and deal with it. Main thing is to do it ! By all means discuss the problems here when it has happened. There are too many people around thinking about problems which might well not arise. But your first priority is to group the second language speaker together with native speakers and slowly see stage by stage of how you can plan and improve it.

tvadim133
08-10-2009, 23:00
May be for the first to make a party where member can introduce themselves (interests) and then to understand what format will be interesting for them in future but not only one format:

1. watching and discussing films;
2. "english" dinner vs "russian" dinner;
3. the evening of fairy tales;
e.t.c.

Plokhatinova
10-10-2009, 12:39
Guys, thank you very much! Yeah, really, sometimes I think that I just need the confidence and believe in myself. But it's always very stressful to start something new.
My girls (one is from the US, one - from GB) are very nice and very young (21 and 20), they have some experience in what they will have to do here, I have already downloaded some materials, but at the beginning we anyway will have to adapt to people's level, age. We set a lower age limit (17 years) without the upper one. I think it's reasonable, cause pupils at school usually can't express their thoughts on something sirious, on politics for example, I think for them it will not be very interesting, but we'll see, may be there will appear some exceptions.

May be someone knows any underlying potentioal problems?

Larry Paradine
10-10-2009, 21:07
One problem can be finding a topic that interests people enough to get them talking. I had this difficulty today. I'd assumed that a group of educated, intelligent, mainly female late teens (average age 19) would have something to say about the ongoing controversy over the Baisarov/Obrakaite dispute; it's become topic no.1 in popular papers like Komsomolskaya Pravda and even people like me, who hate "Пусть Говорять", were tempted to watch the show when Primadonna herself showed up to castigate her former son-in-law. I was wrong, half of them hadn't taken any notice at all and the others had only a superficial interest based on the personalities involved; nobody considered, or had any opinion on, the possible implications for child custody procedures, to say nothing of the affair's potentially damaging effect on the always prickly relations between Russians and Chechens. The lesson to be drawn from this is: if you don't know who's going to attend the group (today's were all unknown to me), go equipped with a ragbag of topics covering as wide a field as possible, on the principle that at least one subject should awaken their interest.

Another possible problem could arise from the opposite situation, i.e. where the topic generates strong, conflicting opinion and tempers become heated. I always ban politics and religion as discussion topics for that reason, but people can sometimes get hot under the collar about seemingly innocuous subjects. If, like me, you try to keep a low profile and tell the group that you're just the chairman, once you've introduced the topic it's up to them to discuss it (if you don't, you'll probably be expected to do most of the talking yourself, which negates the whole point of a conversation group), it's important to make it clear that you set the rules and can order belligerent or intolerant members to leave.

Good luck.

Strider
10-10-2009, 21:13
I think that you need alcohol to make things work :)

Bels
10-10-2009, 21:24
In my experience, it's not the problem of them getting under the collar. It's making get carried away and actually talking with every possible effort in expressing themselves. Problems explained that might arise are more likely to happen with a number of native speakers speaking their own language. Not those together speaking another language as their second language. Politics discussions appear to be more acceptable here in Russia, compared to for example UK. Geting them to talk and have a debate will be the difficult problem to deal with in this case.

Bels
10-10-2009, 21:34
And give all due respect to your very young native speakers. Believe me it's going to be very hard work for them as Russians try to express themselves using the English language. Of course the higher level they are and the more verbal practice those Russian have had, the easier it becomes. But I suspect those young native speakers will have their hands full.

Would love to hear how you get on when it all happens.

pjw
10-10-2009, 21:46
Hey Elena. I wish U so much luck with your project. Yes you've really done some great things already to get the venue and the facilitators. I'm sure the girls will do well. And your enthusiasm will count alot as a motivating factor. I can hear it when U speak how excited U are about it all. One thing's for sure, U'll know more after the first meeting.:celebrate:


:thumbsup: You've got to use a film or a series or some cartoons. Keep in mind that the people coming want to get some contact with English, but maybe they're a bit scared or unfit at first, so go easy on them, don't force anyone, they may need time to check out what's going on and to feel at home enough to open up. Be patient and kind, they'll appreciate it.



A structured plan helps, including film, serial, cartoon, karaoke and some time for group discussion or free one-on-one. Imagine a couple of really quiet shy people who start talking English together and it's their first time in years? Could also be the first time for some speaking with native speakers and that's always fun too. I really hope U enjoy it Elena.:sunny:

Plokhatinova
11-10-2009, 08:24
Larry Paradine, thank u very much for your valuble advise! I'll make a note of it!


I think that you need alcohol to make things work :)

:applause: Yeah, I probably will! I've got plenty of various staff like that in my home bar! :)


Would love to hear how you get on when it all happens.

I'll inform you all when the first day of the Club will pass! I'm glad to know that someone cares about this, because it is now a very essencial part of my life.
But don't know yet when it all will happen. Next week I'll give the advertisement and will gather the grup. Of course I'm eager to start asap.


And again thank you Pete, I'll put everything you said in my pipe and smoke it!

Plokhatinova
11-10-2009, 08:34
Guys, I thought that it would by nice to find a serial film, a comic one or may be a detective, where the resolution will have to be guessed by people. Do you know that kinds of films that will suit, not very long ones, half an hour - is an ideal duration time. May be you know something worth watching??? Did U hear anything about "24"???

drwho
11-10-2009, 08:51
Hello everybody! My name is Elena. I'm planning to organize an English Club in a little town near Kazan. Does anyone knows the peculiarities of such kinds of clubs??? From what to start? I've already found the native speakers and the place to hold the classes. I've got so many questions! How to plan this 1,5 hour to make people WANT to express their thoughts in English, to make every single member not just sit and listen to the native speaker and others, but feel free to speak, create a casual, friendly atmosphere?
Does it make any sence to divide people into grupes as per their level or age? Or just invite everybody who can express their opinion without help of the Russian language? How do you think?
What are the main difficulties when organizing such Clubs???
Yeah, in the Internet there are lots of materials, interesting themes to discuss, but I wanna get professional advise? Can you share your experience? Thank you very much beforehand!

Conversation classes are usually charged and paid for by people attending the classes, I hope you pay the NS a fair price? All too often they are taken advantage of here in Moscow.

I know this does not help in organizing a club but advertise in well known Russian papers and with street flyers. Without good and paid NS the club will not work. :agree:

Plokhatinova
11-10-2009, 09:33
I know this does not help in organizing a club but advertise in well known Russian papers and with street flyers. Without good and paid NS the club will not work. :agree:

My NS are good and well-paid! The only and pretty bad problem with them is that they all live in big Kazan city and the Club will be organized in Zelenodolsk (little town 40 km away from Kazan). So all of them were not happy with the idea of riding outside of Kazan to hold the classes. And I had two candidates who first agreed to participate in all this campagne and then called me and refused. That gives me a nervous feeling of insecurity.

Of course the only thing I can involve them - is to pay them good.

pjw
11-10-2009, 20:18
Guys, I thought that it would by nice to find a serial film, a comic one or may be a detective, where the resolution will have to be guessed by people. Do you know that kinds of films that will suit, not very long ones, half an hour - is an ideal duration time. May be you know something worth watching??? Did U hear anything about "24"???Hmmm good question, what to watch.;)
Concerning films, best to make it something that they've perhaps already seen. Bond is cool but the level is quite high. If it's something they've already seen in Russian, then at least they know the story and can concentrate more on the language. Concerning serials, I'm not sure which ones U have in Russia which they may have seen. What do U think?

King of Queens tends to go down well here or another one is Fawlty Towers but to buy this is going to be expensive. Normally it's best to get stuff from one of the students. It's hard to suggest a short 30 minute episode of something which U can pause before the end and discuss. Good idea. Let me have a little think about it if something comes to mind.
My NS are good and well-paid! ...........I had two candidates who first agreed to participate in all this campagne and then called me and refused. That gives me a nervous feeling of insecurity. It's normal to feel nerves Elena and to worry if everything will be ok. But if U've done this kind of thing before, U'll know that U can really use these nerves to your advantage to get alot of energy. Things will be ok, U just wait and see. People are coming because they're interested to speak and hear some English, U've done alot of preparation getting the girls ready and U'll see that everyone will be happy. Don't forget a bottle of sparkling wine for the team to enjoy together after the first session! U'll all have deserved it I think.;)
Of course the only thing I can involve them - is to pay them good.I know you're paying them fair wages Elena. They'll do their best and everything will be ok. But just keep in mind that nobody stays around for ever. It may be wise if U already start looking for some additional native speakers to join the team and to be ready to continue when some of the other teachers move on. It's normal that people move on, try to be prepared in advanced for it. I love your idea, your concept will be successful, I wish U tons of fun with it. It's really great what U're doing.:thumbsup:And please let us know how U go.

Larry Paradine
12-10-2009, 20:32
Plohhatinova, I've just realised the club you're organising is a commercial venture, i.e. participants pay for the privilege of listening to the sound of their own voices. That being the case, you may need to be a little more diplomatic with speakers who misbehave than I suggested; my club is free to entrants, so there's no possibility of financial detriment to inhibit me from summarily ejecting miscreants. (By the way, the fact that my club is free doesn't mean I'm some sort of philanthropist, I use it as additional advertising in my search for private paying students.)

Anna Nakleishikova
18-10-2009, 14:57
I am running such a club here in Cherepovets!

That really may seem impossible but I did it!

I found two Americans and one Englishman to participate last summer,
that was great!

I didn't pay anything to Americans but the students showed them around themselves and that was really cool. The Americans loved all the cultural places.
My students prapared them a great tour and that was interesting.

I paid the Englishman, he gave speaking classes for the students. Everybody was happy.

Now I am looking for other guests to come over here and meet with the students!

pjw
25-10-2009, 19:41
Hey Elena. Let's touch base. How are u doing?
Let us know how your English language club started off. Had it yet? How was the first evening? I'll bet there were lots of nerves but everything went really well right?:celebrate:

Bels
25-10-2009, 19:51
I've been thinking about one for children. Mainly forpromotional puroses but it would be free. I have a classroom where I teach children and teenagers of various levels now. I have children of whom I have taught from beginner level over the past five. Now some of tham are on what we call level four or five.

My classroom is in a government owned club house of which has a small hall of which I may use with permission for such an activity. I am thinking of promoting a free entry language club for pure beginner young children. The organising is more difficult than I thought. Any Ideas?

Kartoshka
26-10-2009, 15:00
^ You have the venue, Bels, so what are you finding difficult about the organisation of your club? How old would the children be?

Kartoshka
26-10-2009, 15:06
Elena, I too would be interested to know how things are going with your club. I like your idea of showing an episode of a series. That way even shy participants will get something out of the club because they will be listening to the language and trying to work out what will happen next in the story - the pictures will help them to understand, whereas if you just have conversation then someone with a low level of English might struggle to keep up with what's being talked about. But it is hard to pick a series because the language is often quite advanced. Good luck with your idea, anyhow!

pjw
04-11-2009, 21:22
Hi Elena,

I've been thinking about U and your language club. How has it started? Let us know please. I was especially thinking about U today, we were watching Miss Marple. Each episode is less than 90 minutes so it's short enough to keep attention. It's got a problem to solve. The English is extremely clear because it's from the 60s. People spoke clearer on TV back then. It's a cultural thing. So U'll just need to try to find some copies somewhere or I'm sure if U ask around U'll be able to find some copies from the computer. Have fun with your club Elena.:ok:

Bels
04-11-2009, 21:50
^ You have the venue, Bels, so what are you finding difficult about the organisation of your club? How old would the children be?

Yes I have the venue , but I am scared now it's me. It's ok advising others about the older ones. Due to predicted demand I'm thinking of 3- 6 year olds of pure bginner. Some of the parents will be of good English and already encouraging to their kids, other parents will be zero English and their children zero English. It's the three to four year olds I am most worried about.

Children, teenagers, with some English are no problem at all. Six year old beginners are the easiest of all to me. If you can't teach from beginner level, you are not an EFL Teacher of which takes very special skills.

Developing English skills to those at a higher level is an easier skill. Untill you find faults of confusion with those who have been taught wrong. Often from Russian English Teachers.

Darya Alexandrovna
05-11-2009, 00:01
Hello everybody! My name is Elena. I'm planning to organize an English Club in a little town near Kazan. Does anyone knows the peculiarities of such kinds of clubs??? From what to start? I've already found the native speakers and the place to hold the classes. I've got so many questions! How to plan this 1,5 hour to make people WANT to express their thoughts in English, to make every single member not just sit and listen to the native speaker and others, but feel free to speak, create a casual, friendly atmosphere?
Does it make any sence to divide people into grupes as per their level or age? Or just invite everybody who can express their opinion without help of the Russian language? How do you think?
What are the main difficulties when organizing such Clubs???
Yeah, in the Internet there are lots of materials, interesting themes to discuss, but I wanna get professional advise? Can you share your experience? Thank you very much beforehand!

I have organized such kind of a club in Vladivostok. "Chatterbox club" I called it. And even now, when I'm not there anymore it continues to operate though I still try to help them and keeping in touch. It was a lot of fun. And people were really happy. What is it that you want to know exactly as I see there have been told a lot already. Be glad if can be of any help. :thumbsup:

Bels
05-11-2009, 00:17
We could start from the very beginning. As far as I knoow such clubs are for the benifit of those who want English conversation practice.

What about the promoters, as we have seen it could be purely for voluntary reasons of havings the same desires. But organising such a get together costs money, and costs can be reduced if f space used is government owned property, but then we have more red-tape.

So what do have ? Purely voluntary for the purpose of English speaking ? and those who will do it freely like me , but for a promotional purpose in the hope of more students.

Or there is the fee paying system. How does it work out in cost , both for the student and the promoters? Me? I repeat. I'm interested in free of charge, but for personal promotion purposes. Another form of advertising you might say, but all parties gain something in the end, whether they take on future classes or not.

Plokhatinova
30-11-2009, 19:08
Hi everybody! Sorry for being off the forum for so long! I am just really too busy now! The Club has started! :fireworks:Not as many members yet as I wanted but we are having a good time!
Every lesson is divided into two parts - in first one lexico-grammatical material is introduced (usually an interesting article or a video with vocabulary and interesting expressions) and in the other half of the class we have discussions (using the vocabulary of the meeting), doing role plays, games, interesting disputes (sometime they become very hot-tempered and passionate!), interesting and funny videos. The main purpose of the classes is to make people speak and to make the lessons emotional (not always funny, sometimes they are thoughtprovoking, serious, touching, sad but never boring). The people I have now are of pre-intermediate and intermediate level. Nobody is afraid to speak and that's great!
I can say that we all are enjoying! The only problem is advertisement. How to let people know about the club - I did posters on main bus stops of the town and ads in the local newspaper... Any other ideas??? :rant:
Can anyone tell were is the best place to find clubmembers?

Bels
30-11-2009, 20:30
From personal experience regular advertising in local papers are good. It happens slowly. perhaps a few a month. Nothing big but well designed. Postage stamp size due to price. Why not try a brilliant blog for the newspaper with photos. If it is interesting they will take it on. Have a look at the examples, as you may well find that their are already others doing exactly that. If it is interesting they will publish it. Other Ideas is to make a publication of interest where you will have the ability of other advertisers to join you as a group. So for example you are interested in presenting English, another might be interested in music, art, dancing, karate, indoor sports etc.
Group up and make a blog, or do it all yourself. If it is interesting , they will publish it. Boy oH Boy! They do it all the time in estate agency! Property! And someimes some believe there so called expertise,

Especially in the Moscow Times, estate Agency YAP! YAP! is free advertising for the Estate Agents.