Facilitating Groups: Speed Chatting

 Lessons from TEFL classroom 01

I attended a lot of different events during the Brighton Digital Festival.  At one event, we were broken down into smaller groups – the idea being that it would increase networking, and get people sharing ideas with random people, rather than the people we were drawn to/ended up standing/sitting next to.

As a language teacher, I often meet groups of students who are accustomed to working together in L1.  They come into the EFL classroom and want to sit with their best friends from home.  I want the students to feel comfortable, yet I also want them to explore other people, preferably using English – they are here after all, to learn English, so let’s use it, s.v.p! :-)*

A great way to mix them up is to give them a language form to practice. A mix up of the conditionals for example.  They speak with each other for as long as it takes to practice that form, then switch partners.  The switch is counted off, with either all the odds or all the evens – you choose – standing up and moving one chair/person to the left (or right).  The activity is repeated for as long as you want it to last, or until everybody has chatted with everybody else, depending on the size of the group.

This technique for grouping can be applied to conference sessions where we want to mix up teams and disciplines.

A great way to get them to move around and mix with others is speed chatting. Give them a topic, or have them choose their own question that they will ask of everybody they speak with.  Keep the chatting brief.  2 or 3 minutes max.  Long enough to get the initial rub of ideas, and exchange of details, if wanted.

You can also use numbers according to size of groups wanted.  Say you want groups of 5 or 6.  Get everybody to count off 1-5 or 6, then get all the people of each of those numbers to group.  All the 1’s together, all the 2’s and so on.  Clearly for this to work you’d need groups of at least 18 (to make 3 groups of 6) or 20 (to make 4 groups of 5).  You see the pattern I’m sure.

When you create larger groups like this, the chats can be longer, so an idea is discussed for 7-10 minutes.  You can swap the groups off again by counting off new numbers, and remixing.

Anybody else got any ideas for mixing up groups of people in the training environment?  Share your ideas in the comment field, s.v.p.

*s.v.p. = French abbreviation for s’il vous plait = If you please = Please.

Life is an amazing journey. http://www.alisonamazed.wordpress.com http://www.alisonboston.wordpress.com

Tagged with: , , , , ,
Posted in Alison Boston, PostADay2011, Techie Stuff, TEFL, Use of Language

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

  • Leeks ‘N’ Lentils
      Oh Yeah! The simplicity of this dish allows the flavours of the leeks and shiitake mushrooms to blend beautifully. It needs nothing more than salt and freshly ground pepper.  I thought about adding tumeric or fresh herbs, but loved…Read more ›
  • Today’s Whole Foods+
    Just like you, I used to cringe at the idea of  meal replacement shakes.   If anyone suggested them to me, I’d wrinkle my nose in disgust and say: “I only eat whole foods.” I only ate whole foods till I…Read more ›
  • Bean-stuffed Baked Squash
      Since releasing 55 pounds of toxic fat with my cleanse and fat-release system I’ve been taking a different approach to whole foods meals.  Where I used to be a big pasta eater, it’s pretty much been eliminated from my diet.…Read more ›
%d bloggers like this: