The Coronavirus pandemic has forced everyone to adapt quickly to new ways of doing things. Our Spanish lessons have been running smoothly online for a few weeks now, and our Spanish Conversation Evenings have also been moved to Zoom. The system is working really well. Plus it is great to be able to keep on practising our Spanish and staying in touch with the familiar faces we are used to seeing every other week. It maintains a social sense of community and it helps us feel together and not isolated.
When it comes to the Spanish Conversation Evenings, we have been splitting the participants in small groups, to allow for maximum interaction and speaking time for everyone. Similarly to our usual Spanish classes, we focus on having few students per group, so that everyone can participate as much as possible. It has been a fun practice to mix the participants in each small group every now and again, so that the conversation keeps on flowing and the social aspect of the activity is not lost. The point is to meet people, make new friends, have fun… and practise your Spanish in the process.
I believe one of the reasons why our Spanish Conversation Evenings and Spanish lessons (be it in person or in Zoom) are so successful is that the attendees do not feel they are making an academic effort to use their Spanish. They are not doing a dull and repetitive work, but they are engaged socialising and discussing engrossing topics. Thus, the words flow without even noticing. Also, students need to use their Spanish for real situations and to communicate with real people (as opposed to the fake and canned role plays some old-fashioned language schools still use!). Moreover, our regular participants praise the friendly and non-judgmental environment that makes them feel welcome to speak and not be afraid of making mistakes.
It is a proven scientific fact that fun plays a crucial role in how you learn and how much you retain. Long live to our Spanish Conversation Evenings!