English classes can be very boring for advanced learners, after many years of study the amount of new material that you cover in a language class is very small. Most of your work is focusing on detail and refining your existing knowledge. At the beginner level, language acquisition seems new and fresh; you are meeting new words and phrases every day:
Where does Jenny live?
Jenny lives in Pinewood.
Exciting! But, by the time you are reading Yeungnam Observer articles you are an advanced language learner, and probably feeling a little bit frustrated with the slow progress you seem to be making these days. I am learning Korean, but I am a beginner, so my progress seems rapid. Our class has just learned the verb+을/ㄹ 수 있어요 form; I get excited when I see it outside my classroom texts, but advanced language learners, like those who can read a newspaper or a magazine in a second language, have fewer opportunities to look back on their recent learning achievements. You have reached alanguage learning plateau, but the next step is a really exciting one.
The new challenge is to step up to fluency. Even though classroom study is often the best way to build up ability, languages live best outside the classroom. Once you have a good grasp of the language you need to take your speaking and listening skills into the real world. When I am done with Korean class I can read the advertisements on the bus and subway, I can try and talk with neighbours and local shopkeepers, I can eavesdrop on colleagues' conversations and when I hear constructions that I am learning in the classroom I feel good. Where do you go, and what do you do to take your English skills to the next level?
The Foreign Language Institute (FLI) at Yeungnam University is running a series of after-class programs in the Global Lounge. The Ultra Care English Program coordinator (UCEP), Mark Kelly explains: "The Global Lounge Programs run from Monday to Thursday, between 4.30 and 6.00pm. On Mondays there is Kate's Comedy Hour from 4.30-5.30. Tuesdays are Chris' Drama for Kicks (6.00-7.00pm)and Mark's Ballroom Dance Hour (7.00-8.00pm). On Wednesdays at 6.00-7.00pm is Jinks' Origami Group. On Thursdays, Mike and Julian host the fantastic Yeungnam Idol singing competition from 5.00-6.00 in the Global Lounge."
Have you noticed how the word 'class' has not been used to describe these activities? Please come along and enjoy yourself the main thing is to have fun, improving your English skills will be a happy by-product.
Kate Bissell's 'Comedy across Cultures' program on Mondays looks at comedy in different cultures; her sessions usually start off with a comic DVD, looking at humorous body language and then they move onto discussions about verbal comedy why are some things more funny than others and build up to joke telling in English. Kate says anybody can come along and have fun. Chris Boudreault's Drama for Kicks' group will appeal to students who like movies and theatre and enjoy talking about it. If you can stick around later on Tuesday evenings, Mark Kelly's Ballroom Dance Hour was very popular in previous semesters and is a big hit with students and staff again this semester. Mark says that the best results will come from regular attendance, though you do not have to attend every session. Wednesday night is origami night. Origami is not a martial art like aikido or judo, but the Japanese word that English speakers use to describe paper folding craft. Jinks hosts a small group of paper folders who want to teach each other folds, both old and new. The main purpose of the session is a quiet, social chatting time, but the by-product is a new confidence in giving and following instructions in English, as well as fun paper birds, animals and water bombs. The highlight of the program will undoubtedly be Julian's and Mike's Yeungnam Idol singing competition. Students can join in as singers, judges and audience members; it will be fun for everyone. 'YU is jam-packed with talented students and we look forward to having a great time with them on Thursdays', say Mike and Julian.
You have put in the hard work of English grammar and conversation classes, now come along and join in the Global Lounge after-class programs and put your English skills to good, practical use. These programs have been designed for YU's UCEP students, but all students and friends are welcome to come along the more the merrier!