For over a year, Approach has offered free online conversation classes. Each week, Approach faculty lead conversation classes at different times to accommodate various time zones. These classes are an amazing opportunity to speak English and make friends from all over the world.
Since I’m a teacher, I had plans to teach the students. Guess what?! They’ve been teaching me. Here are some of the things I’ve learned…
Don’t be afraid of silence. People are thinking. Don’t rush them.
Every country has amazing natural beauty and delicious local cuisine that the citizens are very proud of and want to show off. I’ve seen and learned so much when participants shared their photos with us. And this sparked conversation among everyone.
A few questions are all you need to get a great conversation going. The different perspectives, interpretations, and personalities will take the discussion in directions you could never have planned.
I have learned more about the world first-hand in these classes than anywhere else. And the most important thing that I’ve learned is how much alike we all are.
If you think you have obstacles, think again. Some regions have such bad internet that students lose connection a dozen times during the class, but they always rejoin. They don’t let technology stop them.
If you think you don’t have time, think again. One student regularly joined the class while he was on the bus heading home. He couldn’t really talk on the bus but he listened until he got home and could participate fully.
Your conversation level is what you think it is and what you make it. Don’t be stopped. Don’t underestimate yourself. And don’t let anyone else underestimate you. Keep talking your way to fluency.
You can learn and teach, and teach and learn with anyone, in any combination. Listen to your classmates. Participate. Start by putting something in the chat if you’re nervous about talking.