Conversation Club is a group of local Lakeside children who come together to work with our volunteers four afternoons a week. The main aim is to improve their English language skills through conversations and activities based on a range of topics. We aim for the children to expand their vocabulary and become more fluent in their conversational English.
Our recent topic, Around the World, gave the children an opportunity to discuss a range of information as well as expand their general knowledge.
When we started our topic, some of the children could reel off many facts about some countries but didn’t really understand what they were discussing. “Nepal is a land-locked country” one of the children said, reciting from her school textbook, but when asked what she thought that meant, she didn't really know.
The children worked in groups with one or two volunteers to help out each group. Their first task was to think of 3 countries they would like to learn about and then write a list of things that they would like to find out about that country. The children were also invited to write anything they knew already about the country.
That night the volunteers got to work!They researched, found pictures, compared notes and found lots of information based on what the children wanted to find out. There’s no doubt some volunteers improved their general knowledge that night!
They researched, found pictures, compared notes and found lots of information based on what the children wanted to find out. There’s no doubt some volunteers improved their general knowledge that night!
The volunteers returned to their groups the following day and shared the information being sure to explain new words carefully and in context. A great resource was the new world maps. The children had a great time finding the countries they were learning about. Words like “landlocked” then made a lot more sense.
The next step was to share the knowledge. Each group did a presentation on their chosen countries. The opportunity to present to a group can be challenging enough in their home language, but these children did well sharing the information with the rest of the group in English.
The final session was a quiz. The information the children had learnt about and shared over a two week period became the focus for a team quiz. We were amazed about the amount of information they had retained. It was also a good indicator that the children had learned a good range of new words as well as lots of fun and interesting facts.
Exposure to English in an interesting and meaningful context can lead to expanded vocabulary and improved fluency, this topic at Conversation Club was a good example of this.
Thank you for your continuous and generous support! We can't wait to see the children grow and flourish in 2016!