Improve Your English

Teaching English

Teachers' Zone

How to start an "English Speaking" Club

by Celia Webb

Speaking English takes plenty of practise. Although talking aloud to yourself does provide some practise, it is even better to talk with someone. To give yourself a chance to practise speaking English regularly, start your own "English Speaking" club.

Having a club which meets regularly to practise English will help you feel more comfortable pronouncing English words. You will also develop better listening skills so you will understand more fully what you hear. This is particularly important if you would like to study or travel abroad. Here are ideas on how to form a club and what do when you meet.

Make it a small group. Since the goal is to practise speaking English, it will help if the group is small. That way each person will get a chance to talk. The club could be as small as two people but should not be bigger than six people.

Meet regularly. Like many other skills, speaking English requires regular practise. Plan to meet at least once a week, perhaps after school or work. Try to set aside an hour or two for the meeting so everybody will get to talk.

Bring your English dictionary. Having a ready reference for words will help make the conversations go more smoothly. Looking up words is OK. You can also ask other members of the group to help you with a word by saying "How do you say _____?"

Only English, thank you! During your meetings, make it a rule that you will only speak English with the one exception of asking for a word. Remember, the purpose is to practise English.

Have a "conversation leader". Have a "conversation leader" for each meeting. Rotate this position so a new person is the leader for each meeting. This is another technique to make sure everybody gets practise time. The "conversation leader" is responsible for bringing two or three ideas for the topics which will be discussed at that week's meeting. The leader will start the conversation about each of the topics with everyone else contributing their own thoughts on the topic. One of the topics could be a role play situation. The next two paragraphs provide ideas for topics and role play situations.

What to discuss. Think about conversations you have everyday when you consider what to discuss at a meeting. Current news events, popular movies, a new book or music CD, a nightclub or restaurant could all provide material to talk about.

Role play. Another way to practise English is to role play. Pair off and have one person play the role of shopkeeper and the other person the role of customer. Pretend to want to buy an item. Or have one person play the role of lost traveler and the other person play the role of helpful passerby. You can think of lots of different situations to practise.

Starting your own "English Speaking" club can provide you many opportunities to practise your speaking and listening skills. You will improve your vocabulary, your pronunciation and your understanding of English. You will also have a lot of fun, so call up your friends today and get started!

About the Author Celia Webb is an author, illustrator, and company executive. She and her husband, Mack H. Webb, Jr., founded Pilinut Press, Inc., publishing advanced readers for children and ESL students.
Their website offers more free articles on developing reading-related skills, word games and puzzles, and activity sheets for their entertaining and educational books.
Do you have an article, handout or a teaching idea/tip that you would like to share? Fill out the form. It's good to share.

Teacher's Zone