A conversation with Ksenia
Recently, I’ve made friends with Ksenia, a successful English language teacher who runs a conversation club in Kaliningrad. We became friends because we both share a love for learning about language and culture, her English and me Russian. I wanted to know more about her conversation club:
- How it helps her students to learn English.
- What activities they do at the club.
So I thought this would be a great opportunity to talk about what Ksenia does at her conversation club in Kaliningrad and what we do at LSI Portsmouth to improve ‘Social English’.
HELLO FROM KALININGRAD! LET’S GET TO KNOW EACH OTHER! 🤗
MY NAME IS KSENIA! AND I AM AN ENGLISH TEACHER IN KALININGRAD. THROUGH THIS, I WILL ALWAYS ENDEAVOUR TO HELP YOU REACH YOUR POTENTIAL!
I adore my profession, my work, I love to inspire people, passing on my experience to them 🤗 I am always happy to be in the company of like-minded people and the greatest joy for me is to share!
ABOUT MY ENGLISH CONVERSATION CLUB
@speakforjoy is my little dream come true🤩 This conversation club = a cozy haven for the creative and extraordinary, for the modest and serious, for ALL PEOPLE!
In addition, my club is a reliable and very friendly place 👫 where everyone has the opportunity to improve their English 🆙!
Our English Speaking Club, @speakforjoy = is not just a cozy place where you can improve your language level! It has a great atmosphere which is just amazing! Therefore, after 15 minutes, all those who initially define their knowledge as “cats & dogs” laugh, and respond using entire new phrases.
The setting is designed to naturally put you at ease as if you have always known this place. And all because you are accepted here, with all that is and is not 😊 , This is why our slogan is: “We speak for joy 💜”
All that is left, is to learn the grammar (for this, we drill phrases which helps students to remember how to do it right), and not to miss meetings 👍
WHY DO STUDENTS LIKE OUR ENGLISH CONVERSATION CLUB?
At 💬 SPEAK FOR JOY:
- FREE English zone (during the lesson, each club member can put forward their ideas and suggest new topics for discussion, most importantly, all this is done in English 😉)
- Enjoy talking with different personalities (our club members are people from various different backgrounds: students, entrepreneurs, athletes, doctors and other interesting personalities)
- Play a variety of different English games and activities (during classes we use different activators – cards, exercises, games, media materials)
- Sound like a native speaker (the teacher teaches you to speak the language of international communication (everyday English), close to the original English-speaking speech)
- Professional English teacher and tutor (the lesson is taught and moderated by a certified English teacher @kseniajoy)
👍👍👍 Speak English for real!
🎁 AND MOST PLEASANTLY:
EVERY participant in a conversation club receives 1 free drink, which they order from the menu of their choice😍
➕ during class, you can order something for a snack or dessert 🥪
WHAT CONVERSATIONAL ENGLISH PRACTICE HAPPENS AT THE CLUB?
The main feature of the club = constant interaction, from the first minute ♻️💬 But the main criteria for such an activity👇
INTERACTIVE LESSON KEY CRITERIA🗝️:
- Obligatory WARM UP☀️ or HEATING = a simple little task on an abstract topic, often focused on soft skills – personal preferences and the person’s attitude to this topic.
- Lead-in or introduction to the topic. It can be just a question or a series of questions on a topic in order to learn the opinion and experience of participants.
- Mobility = within at least one task / game, participants move around the space. For example, you need to change partners, or go around different ‘stations’.
- COMMUNICATION IN A PAIR 👯♀️ AND A GROUP 👨👩👧👦
- Feedback directly during the lesson. Both from the teacher to the participants, and from the participants to the participants, when they evaluate each other, point out errors and help correct.
- TTT (Teacher Talking Time) less than STT (Student Talking Time). The talk time of the teacher is less than that of the learner. This is a special art, when the teacher guides, sets the topic and provides a resource, and the students themselves reproduce all the necessary information on the topic.
- Discovery learning. The participants are actively involved in the process, the presentation of the teacher is not an information resource, but a starting point for creating a new one: suggestions, dialogue, questions to each other, etc.
- Obligatory COOL DOWN 🌊 or, as I call this stage, Brain Break, in the sense of “a break for the brain” 😜. We go over the results on the topic, perhaps a funny video, song or just a survey of what everyone remembered and what new information they found out 😊
From Kaliningrad to Portsmouth
After a day of study at LSI Portsmouth, it is important that students have a chance to socialise with each other outside of the classroom. Not just so that they can practice their English, but also so that they can get to know each other!
The great thing about conversation clubs
Speaking a foreign language in a social situation can be a bit scary! I know that from experience. My second language is Russian and I always find it scary talking with others, especially with real Russians! I usually worry about my pronunciation and grammar, so I can sometimes go quiet and say nothing.
The great thing about conversation clubs is that ‘we are all in it together’. You meet people who are studying a foreign language like you, you can try together, you can make mistakes and help each other without feeling silly. Also, you will probably meet people who are like you!
Perhaps my favourite thing about working at LSI Portsmouth is that I meet lots of like-minded people! People who enjoy travelling, who want to meet new people, who like to learn about new cultures. So learning a new language is a great way to make new friends!
Does LSI Portsmouth have a conversation club?
Yes we do! We run… lots and lots of different social programme activities, all designed to improve social English. With our social programme we like to get ‘out and about’ to check out the British culture! Looking at the programme for this month I can see that we have:
- Coffee, Cake, and Conversation at Cafe 113.
- A meal out at the Southsea Village.
- Lunch at the Brewhouse.
- Cocktails at Mr Miyagi’s.
- After School Drinks and Quiz The Fleet.
In addition to these conversation type activities, we have lots of other activities, for example:
|Cultural Activities||Tour of Old Portsmouth|
|Visit Spinnaker Tower|
|Weekend Trips||Day trip to London|
|Trip to Durdle Door|
|Sporty / Physical Activities||Indoor Tennis|
Our social programme is really quite varied, so it is different from one month to another. If you want to stay up to date with what we are doing from one month to another, just click here!
How is English practiced at our social activities?
With visitors from all over the world coming to our school, the Lingua Franca is English. When you come to any of our social events you have a chance to practice your social English in a real-world environment. Here are some examples of activities that we do during our conversation club:
- Quizes – These encourage teamwork and mean that students must practice their English to discuss the answers to the questions. This usually leads to a great deal of debate amongst students!
- Conversation Questions – These questions and topics are provided by the teacher to stimulate discussion, but not over controversial topics.
- Debates – Lots of different types of debates! Balloon debates, pyramid debates, traditional debates! With roles supplied by the activity leader.
- Games – These really vary depending on the activity and the leader. These could be team competitions or they could be competitions between pairs. Usually, they are relaxed fun games which are designed to make you laugh and joke!
And what do I like best about our social activities?
They are, of course, a great way to practice English and pick up new vocabulary and phrases. But best of all they are a great way to make friends and to meet people like you! I enjoy leading them because I enjoy the social side of meeting new people, learning about culture, and having a laugh!
Who wrote this blog?
Ksenia Prikhodko – English Teacher and Tutor
- Works as a teacher for 7-15 y.o. and adults at Cambridge Resource Centre (Kaliningrad)
- 🚀 5 YEARS of English teaching practice to all ages ( 2 y.o. to ∞).
- She prepares J1 students for interviews at the American embassy.
- ⚽ She developed her author’s lexical course for World Cup 2018 volunteers.
- 🗽 She has lived and worked in the USA
- Started her own project in Kaliningrad city: English speaking club “SpeakForJoy💜”.
To see Ksenia’s students’ testimonials, click here.
Concerning interviews, Ksenia is skilled at preparing a student of any level for face-to-face visa interviews at the American embassy with the consular officer, as well as Skype interviews with potential employer.
In 2016, she worked in Delaware, the #1 state in the US =) in ‘Bethany surf shop‘ making prints on sport apparel and holding kayaking tours of the canal for tourists. After 4 months work, Ksenia travelled to Colorado to visit her family there. She has always said it was the best summer of her life.
How can I get in touch with Ksenia about her conversation club?
Adam Gallie – Digital Marketing
Adam works with the marketing team to make sure the website is up-to-date.
- He has been working at LSI Portsmouth since 2014.
- He began as a teacher of General English and IELTS Preparation.
- He has also taught on our 30+ and English Courses for University Lecturers.
Before coming to LSI Portsmouth, Adam has taught in both Russia and Japan (Russia for 7 years, Japan for 2). He’s always enjoyed teaching, meeting new people, learning about culture, and learning language. Especially the Russian language!
Adam enjoys getting involved in the social programme as it is a great way to meet and socialise with students, usually he does a social activity a week such as taking the students on a tour of old Portsmouth and out to pub quizes.
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