Bringing English to Life is our philosophy at Embassy English. It is more than unique activities and programmes; it is embedded in everything we do. By Bringing English To Life for our students, we enable them to experience the language in a way that surpasses simple classroom instruction. Our study centres provide multiple opportunities for students to challenge their English speaking skills through these BETL activities in the classroom, in the community, and online. At Embassy English Cambridge, the weekly meetings of the Conversation Club have become forums for expanding student’s experience and perceptions of new cultures, and a place to practice English while discussing global issues.
In July 2015, we hosted Africa Week at Embassy Cambridge. At this point we had five students from Angola who had asked to do something which raised awareness and understanding of their culture. For Conversation Club that week we led a session which focused on challenging the stereotypes of Africa. This session showed us how interested our students are in development.
Since Africa Week our Conversation Club has become a platform for students to talk about issues in the world. We use the UN Global Goals for Sustainable Development as a framework, and each week run an interactive session to help us better understand some of the goals, using videos, newspaper articles and games.
During one session we had different pictures around the room and students were asked to stand next to the one they felt best represented development. One student stood next to image of a lady by a computer and talked about how he felt technology was the most important part of development, at which point he received a phone call in his watch, taking it from his wrist and popped it in his ear. The other students burst into laughter at the irony.
It’s been great to see how much the students who participate have taken ownership over the goals. We recently asked for some of our past students to feedback on how they found these sessions and whether they have talked to others about the issues. They said:
‘ It was really interesting to talk about Global Goals, it was difficult to agree with everyone on topics but the discussions were so interesting for that reason.’ Nina, France
‘ Talking about Global Goals opens your eyes to the world around you.’ Katy, Germany.
The best thing about this project is that because the students come from such a variety of different countries and cultures the conversations are animated as they have very different views and opinions. As the Goals cover such a variety of topics there is something for everyone and students each feel passionately about different areas.
This has also been a good opportunity for students to learn new vocabulary that might not come up in the classroom, and as the sessions are very interactive and use many different learning styles students with all levels of English have been able to get involved. Conversation Club is a free activity and runs every Tuesday afternoon and students are always provided with chocolate and biscuits (we once tried having fruit instead of crisps and chocolates but the students were not impressed!)
The students are always asking to have links to the videos and newspaper articles so they can show them to others and have now started sharing these themselves and starting similar conversations with friends at home. Our conversation club is becoming increasingly popular and we hope to continue using this as a space for students to learn about the world from each other.
We are planning more Cultural Days in the school. Recently we had a Chinese New Year party where some of our Chinese students were able to let others taste some Chinese foods, and in March our students from Kuwait are planning a cultural afternoon. In the future we also hope to get some external speakers to speak with students and aim to find events that are happening in Cambridge which focus on Global Development for students to get involved in.« Previous post
Embassy English promises that students will reach their English speaking goals; ensuring a better career, education and LIFE as a global citizen. Students from around the world and of all English speaking levels take classes, experience culture and put their lessons to use at Embassy English Study Centres in the USA, UK, Australia and Canada.
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