International students who want to upgrade their English-speaking skills can now attend the ESL Conversation Club from 12:30 to 2 p.m. on Tuesdays and Thursdays in room 146 of the Visual and Performing Arts Center
James Sellers, full-time assistant in the Communications Lab, leads the group. He said students can attend the meetings either or both days.
“We decided to open the group on Tuesday … because there are five to six new students who want to join,” he said. “This club is absolutely free for everyone, and easy to attend. All people have to do is show up.”
ESL Conversation Club started about two years ago, Sellers said.
“The important purpose of this group is providing students a place to relax, with no pressure, and to practice English and conversation,” he said.
Those in the group learn about verbal conversation, body language and pronunciation. They also share different cultures. About 10 to 12 people are participaing this semester from many different countries: Vietnam, South Korea, France, Iran, China, Sellers said.
“The important point to help new students in the club is to be non-judgmental,” he said.
“We do not judge anyone here. Everyone in class is equal and no one will laugh at you when you speak.
“The idea is have fun when you learn. That is the best way to learn — when you have fun.”
Sellers said more students would be welcome so the group could expand to even more days in a week.
“The best thing people can learn from this group is confidence in speaking,” he said.
“There are many levels in the class. Some students maybe speak pretty well, some at medium level, and in this club we can learn from each other.”
The atmosphere is casual.
“I have to say we always make jokes,” Sellers said. “This is a group, not a class, so no attendance requirement and flexible time. People can come late or leave early. That is no problem.”
Vietnamese student Quan Le, who is studying in Computer Animation, said he has benefited from the club.
“I’ve lived in United States for almost five years, but I still am not satisfied with my communication skills in English,” he said. “So the ESL group has come to be a great place for me to learn and have an opportunity to meet students that come from different nations.
“I’ve improved my confidence when communicating in English and learned a lot of interesting things from various cultures.”
Le said he likes the small-group setting.
“We just talk about any topic without worry of being judged for your communication skills,” he said. “There are no rules in the group, and you can even have your lunch during group meeting.”
Kathy Bohloly, an OCCC graduate from Iran, said she too has improved her ability to speak English.
“My purpose of joining to this club was to improve my communication skill and common English conversation,” she said. “My advice for students who do not know about this club is to try one time and see how helpful it will be for them.”
For more information about the group, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 405-682-1611, ext. 7127.
To contact Hung Tran, email email@example.com