I have the weekly pleasure of working with Frances Forshaw coordinating and teaching at Bridges Argyle English Classes in Reading.  Over the past few months, on zoom of course, Frances has been teaching our lower level class and using 2:19’s new Start to Speak resource.  We had a chat about how it’s been going.

Does Start to Speak fit with 2:19 goals to promote and develop conversational skills?

Yes definitely! Sometimes it’s been difficult on Zoom but going into smaller breakout rooms made this easier. We always have a real warmth in our sessions and much of that is due to the quality of this material and positive attitudes and discussion it evokes.  It definitely achieves its purpose to provide everything needed to deliver good quality conversational English classes.

Is the book easy to use?

I have found this book to be very helpful and timesaving in preparing to teach beginner and elementary learners. It is great to have a high-quality resource to draw on for ideas and inspiration. Great to have detachable and photocopiable resources. Worked well with an adult class. The type is very clear and the illustrations are bright and engaging.

What do you think about the topics chosen?

Each chapter introduction gives a useful overview of the topic with clear aims and learning outcomes.  There are always opportunities for discussion about the topics in different cultures which makes this material extremely inclusive. The topics are familiar and relevant and lend themselves to conversation and discussion about learners’ own countries and culture.  It’s been great fun and there have been loads of interesting and different ideas to choose from. Very adaptable.

Do the suggested activities help with introducing new vocabulary and language as well as reviewing acquired skills?

There is lots of opportunity to go over known skills and extend new skills.  We have been focusing particularly on using ‘chunks’ of language rather than individual words and this programme works well for that aim.

Would you recommend this resource?

Yes! This book works well with an adult class of lower-level learners and could easily be adapted for other levels too.

Lastly, why do you love to teach English in a church-based class environment?

I love the opportunity this provides to meet, build relationships and enjoy friendships with people from all over the world. They have so much to offer us and they enrich our lives in so many ways. Teaching in a church environment opens up many opportunities to share the gospel, whether on an individual level through friendship, or in more organised outreach at Christmas and Easter, at special events or by inviting them to get involved in wider church activities.

Marina Swainston-harrison
Lead ESL Specialist
May 2021