Conversation Circle: International Guests
It is amazing to share ideas with someone from another culture who shares a similar interests or passions, who genuinely wants to connect and discuss things from a fresh perspective. This can be done through a series of letters read aloud to the group, who then all prepare a letter back to the pen-pal; the letter-writing could be an open learning activity that involves participants cooperating with one another, helping each other out, to complete the communicative task. It might be a letter, an email, a slideshow, a collection of blog posts, or a short group video.
Participating in a conversation circle can spur reaching out and connecting with others, sometimes leading to communicating back and forth with a pen-pal from another country using a common language.
In one of my last classes this semester, a spontaneous circle of ESL learners formed around an international student, who was talking about her travels to other countries, and her plans to visit different parts of Canada. They all pulled out their phones and tablets, exchanged contact info, and took selfies and shared them. The chatter was genuine, passionate, excited, and entirely amazing. Many promises were made to keep in touch and share experiences. It had to be all communicated in English, because that was the common language among the half dozen students who spoke four different languages between them.