Today was testing day at the learning center. This means that we had class for an hour and then testing for an hour during the rest of class time.
I had a small handful of new students who had just pretested in the last few days; it made no sense to test them again.
So… I told the teachers to send their students who were too new to test again to my office and that we’d talk. It was a last-minute decision, one of those “eh, let’s try it!” kind of things. And it turned out to be wonderful.
I started with one advanced student – the advanced teacher decided to test first thing. This student is quite advanced with reading and listening, but has trouble finding the right words when she talks. We chatted for a solid 15 minutes about her home country, comparing weather there to weather in Minnesota, the history and politics of the region, and it was great! Then the beginning and intermediate classes started testing, and one student from each of those classes joined us in my office.
So we ended up with a conversation circle comprised of three women at three different levels of English proficiency and from three different countries. The intermediate student shared about her life, marriage, divorce, etc. We asked the beginning student questions about her family and her country. As advanced students finished their tests, they came into my office and joined the conversation, listening to other students talk about their lives, and sharing their own stories.
When it was time to wrap up, I asked them if they liked talking together. They said they did very much. And I did too. 🙂