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What are Speaking Groups?
Speaking Groups are 50-minute-long weekly meetings in which English language learners converse with fluent English speakers (i.e. you!) to practice their language skills.
What happens at a meeting?
An ESL Specialist from the Writing Center introduces a topic. Participants break into pairs or small groups and discuss. Pairs/groups rotate every 15 minutes. Occasionally, we play games instead of discussing a particular topic.
Anyone affiliated with UNC can attend – undergrads, grad students, post-docs, visiting scholars, etc. Attendees have a wide variety of English language proficiency.
|Take a genuine interest in the people you’re talking to.||Don’t make assumptions. Even if two people are from the same country, they may have very different perspectives on the world.|
|Try to find points of connection and discuss things you’re sincerely interested in.||Don’t dominate the conversation so that your partner doesn’t have a chance to practice, but don’t make the other person feel as if she’s being interrogated, either.|
|Speak at a normal, comfortable volume and pace.||Don’t speak unnecessarily s-l-o-w-l-y or LOUDLY.|
|Remember that your partner probably has a different cultural background from you.||Don’t rely heavily on pop culture references or American tropes that your partner might have never heard of.|
|Speak in clear, grammatical sentences. Use an appropriate register.||Don’t use faux-foreign speak. See example below.|
Examples of different registers
Very high/Might be too advanced:
I suspect that I have an affinity for charcuterie. Have you ever tried your hand as a charcutier?
Appropriate for most speakers:
I might like to make sausage and bacon. Have you ever done anything like that?
Too low/Not appropriate for anyone:
Me like to make sausage. You sausage-like?