Staff English Corner: April, 2019

2019-4-12

By Matthew Jellick

The notion of cross-departmental collaboration cannot be understated, especially within a tertiary academic setting.  Aiming to promote this through the medium of language exchange, I host a monthly Staff English Corner, where my Elementary, Intermediate and Advanced Staff Students are invited to gather, sharing both personal and professional experiences through words; not hearing but listening, not talking, but conversing.

Lasting for about an hour during the morning, the social lubricants of coffee and jazz are included as well, providing an arena where authentic dialogue can take place, not focusing too much on the formalities of speaking, but rather the commonalties which language provides; bringing us together, not taking us apart.

With a total of about 40 people, including both staff and EAP students, this month’s English Corner was a success, not only because of the quantity, but moreover, because of the quality.  Discussions between Teaching Assistants and Freshman Students which otherwise wouldn’t happen outside of a setting like this are instead promoted, opening up new avenues for communication, and in turn, helping to change the dynamic of the teacher-student relationship.

This model of promoting conversation will continue, with plans to host more English Corners later this semester, fostering cross-departmental collaboration and language development.  I look forward to not only the process, but also the extended reach which programming like this provides.