Combining Work And Pleasure – Coffees With Your Students In English
Keep students coming back to your school
In a previous blog, I mentioned that we had introduced the concept of 'Coffee in English' at our school. Once or twice a week, one of our teachers takes a group out for coffee. They sit down with them and have a chat. The students get used to practicing their English in an informal environment and they become more confident in using their English in a real-life situation.
You can utilize these sessions for your benefit too. Make it a weekly event. Promote it on your Facebook page. Remind groups by email or sms. Talk it up when you see them. Stress that it's a fantastic way for them to improve their English. Take a photo of the students around a table drinking cappuccinos and post it to your page. Tag your students. They love seeing these photos and will always comment. By doing all these things, you're spreading word about your school. The students will definitely let their friends know about this. It's fun and not as full-on as what a class taught in the Callan Method might be to them. Few, if any, other language schools do this kind of thing.
Present it as a benefit for your school
Students see this as a great addition to their course. Mention it in your course offer. When you add more things to your offer, the students feel like they're getting more bang for their buck. You could even justifiably charge more for your courses as so much stuff is included in the price. Trial lessons, consultations, CASA, Coffees in English – all of this puts you ahead of your competition. At your school, besides just teaching the brilliant Callan Method, the students get all of this other stuff for free. Why would they choose another?
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Bond with your students
People don't make decisions just using their head. A lot of decisions get made by the heart. If a student feels comfortable at your school, feels that their needs are being met, that you genuinely care about their improvement – it's a done deal. If they're having fun, that's the most important thing in keeping them there. 'Coffees in English' let the students get to know their teachers better. They become attached to them and the other students. It makes them want to stay at your school for longer because, if they leave, they'll miss the social aspect of learning English at your school.
A lot of our groups have bonded over these Coffee in English events, and I've seen many instances of the students persuading others to stay – just to maintain the same group throughout the year. For example, if one wants to leave at the end of the month (due to overwhelming work obligations or family issues), the others don't want to see them leave and try to convince them to stay. And it has succeeded many a time. It's amazing just how much these students have bonded with each other – all thanks to a few social meetings. Avoid letting your students go through a month of English lessons at your school without knowing their fellow students' names. The more personal their whole experience with your school is, the longer they will stay with you.
Take advantage of this! Don't let your school be a place where students come in, sit through their lesson, and then just leave. Build a bond with them and try to make them build a bond with each other. They'll have something to talk about with their friends and coworkers – and that's free publicity! Next time they're sitting at a coffee shop with their friends, they'll be reminded of the time they were sitting with their English group and chatting in English. You'll see many more new students coming through your doors once you implement something like 'Coffee in English'.