In our second women’s session, more women showed up with there being six participants and six volunteers, making the numbers equal.
The theme for this week was leisure. As with every session, we first started with a warmer that gave the participants a chance to speak. The warmer went with the theme and was about the weekend. We stood in two lines, the participants in one and the volunteers in another. The participants would ask the volunteer in front of them what they did last weekend and the volunteer would answer with a simple statement such as ‘I went to the beach’. We played music and when the music was stopped each time, the participants would move down and ask the same question to the next volunteer. Once they had gone through all the volunteers, the roles were reversed and the volunteers were the ones to ask the participants what they did last weekend. This exercise was really helpful as it gave them a chance to speak.
We then went into our first activity. We split into three groups, with two participants and two volunteers at each table. This activity was more a listening exercise where we had each volunteer read out a piece of text, which was on their sheets but with blanks. The volunteers read the text twice. The first time, the participants just listened and the second time, they tried to fill in the blanks with the words they heard. The exercise also involved a grammar element to it as we taught them the basic rules for the past tense of verbs.
Afterwards, we did a mix and match activity where the participants had to match between the questions and answers on a sheet and practice with someone else asking about their weekend.
We then had a short break with refreshments where we had some informal conversations together as a large group. One of the participants even brought in a traditional Syrian dessert which many of the volunteers had never tried or even heard of before! We were all very thankful and everyone thought it was delicious.
We then went on to do our third activity where we had some pictures on a sheet illustrating certain verbs. The participants had to try make a story from the pictures and construct sentences, before presenting their story to the class.
We had four activities planned but we ran out of time so we could not do the last activity. However, the participants learned a few new words that they had expressed to some of the volunteers as being very useful for them. At the end of each activity, we also got the participants to tell us a few new words that they had learned in the session.
At the end of the session, we had a feedback session at the end, where many of the participants expressed their gratitude, and the volunteers also gave some feedback on how many of the participants had done well in that session.
The session in general was successful. The equal numbers of volunteers and participants allowed for each of the volunteers to focus on one participants, which ensured that everyone felt included in the activities.
Sadly we won’t have a women’s conversation club next week (Week 5), but hopefully we’ll be running another successful session the week after!