Over the years we have tried many ways to inspire our students to only speak English whilst on campus.
It is not the ‘Lexis Way’ to turn staff into nagging policemen or use severe punishments such as not allowing students into class. On the other hand, we want to encourage students to have the confidence to use English socially and make contact with students of all nationalities. Last year we introduced a student contract which places the responsibility on the individual. Not one student has refused to sign up and they know that if they need to chat in their own language, there are ‘safe’ areas to go to. If anyone is overheard speaking in a language other than English, then they get an essay to write.
There are a choice of topics which include:
- My favourite place in Noosa
- If you had a power, what would you do with it?
- Am animal you would like to be and why
- A place that is special for you
- How would you spend a million dollars
- One thing you would change about the world
The essays are always given with a smile and a joke and the students always do them with good humour. They are always corrected and so there is a learning benefit at the same time.
The overwhelming feedback over the last year is that it is working well and everyone feels it is worthwhile. This is what Andrea (FCE class)wrote:
“I will make a big effort to stop speaking in Spanish because this is the third essay that I’ve written this week (the fifth counting the ones in tests). Anyway, I reckon that the idea of speaking English the whole time is much better for us because it pushes us to do out best and make the most of being here. What’s more it prepares us better for our exam which is in less than one month…..fair enough !” Fair enough indeed Andrea. 🙂