Out-of-class English clubs
Diary submitted by Aude S. Madrid
An English club open to the local community
The purpose of an English club is to organise weekly meetings open to all of the local community,
in order to learn and speak english in a real life situation. Therefore, one basic rule is set : English
only! Fluent english speakers, native speakers and volunteers are regularly invited to join the
group. Family and friends are more than welcome to join in certain activities too.
But how can out of class English clubs can be more attractive than a basic english lesson? What
kind of activities do clubs offer ?
Teachers simply offer various creative group activities such as cooking, playing board games or
bingo, organising discussions, excursions, drama classes and reading sessions. This activities
allow participants to express themselves and to learn the beautiful language of Shakespeare, by
having fun and meeting new people.
Discussions: “Tea time noon ?”
Themes of discussions should be decided by all the members ahead and planned according the
member’s age (children, teenagers and adults group). Participants should bring tea, coffee and
cakes and are encouraged to exchange experiences and opinions for about 1 hour or 2, depending
on the clubs timetable. Here are some samples of conversations:
• Their childhood, where they come from, which uni they went to, what they studied.
• What they did on the weekend, during their most recent holiday.
• Their dreams and goals.
• What could be done to improve classes and the school.
• Their favourite bands, singers and movies.
• Current world events/affairs.
This activity can take place in the clubs locale but also in a public place, such as a park or a coffee
Cooking sessions: “Master chefs”
A cooking session could be organised if the locale allows it or at one of the participant’s houses.
This activity might need a bit more preparation time but it can be very successful in term of making
new friends and creating a very united group. (6 or 7 people max).
This type of setting will most likely involve a fee. However cooking lessons could also be arranged
with one of the local restaurant so they would learn how to cook a specific dish (Indian, Japanese,
Turkish restaurants, etc).
Board games: “ Back to childhood”
One session could also be dedicated to playing board games. Everyone would bring his favourite
board games, even old ones that they used to play as kids (ex: Monopoly, Battleship, Cluedo, etc).
The rules will be given in English and players should speak in English at all time.
This is a game in which players mark off numbers on cards as the numbers are picked randomly
by a caller. The first person to mark off all their numbers wins. Bingo can be open to everyone and
will unit the community.
Book clubs: “ bookworms ”
Everybody should gather around, relax and even sit on the floor, whilst one of the monitor is
reading some chapters of a book. It is best to choose a classic, or a famous writer’s book so
people will more likely get into the story. The monitor can also ask participants if they want to read
some pages. The same activity can be organised for children as a “story telling time”, with parents.
Excursions: “ Into the wild”
Get the group to come up with ideas of where they would like to go and what they would like to do
on an excursion day or afternoon (depending on everyone’s availabilities). This helps to create
stronger bonds within the group. Excursions ideas: going to the swimming pool, to the forest, to a
theme park, to a coffee shop, to play some sport, to go for a walk or to watch a movie.
English drama : “ Shakespeare’s troupe”
Split the group into small groups of 2 or 3 members. Give each group a theme or an already written
script, depending on the age of the group. Then they can write their own script or play the one they
have been already given. A box of accessories would be best to have, so they can use it to help
act out the scenes. Give the groups some time to practice their play and then make them perform it
in front of the other groups.
To conclude, this clubs offer an alternative way of learning English by organising stimulating
activities. Clubs also play an important social role by involving all the members of the community
encouraging them to make new friends.They then create multigenerational and multicultural
meetings, which are very much enriching. A well organised, casual and welcoming environment is
the key to a successful out of class English club.