Practise Makes Perfect at ESL Café


By Sandra Seaborn, Associate Priest

Posted on October 3, 2017

Have you ever been in a place where the conversation that surrounds is incomprehensible to you? A situation where you can catch a phrase here or there, but can’t seem to make the sounds yourself? Learning another language is a difficult task, and understanding often comes before speaking.

At St Paul’s we recognize this challenge and our capacity as a community to do something about it. While there are many excellent schools and classes available in Toronto to learn English, there are fewer places to practice speaking it. For ten years St Paul’s has hosted a weekly ESL Café. Our café is an hour and half of conversations facilitated by volunteer hosts. Each week about 75 people drop-in to talk. Every person has a different skill level when speaking and groups are set for every level of ability. The small group conversations start by asking questions on the designated theme of the night and each person is encouraged to try and articulate their thoughts in English.

Over 15 volunteers host these conversation groups every week. Hosts provide encouragement, motivation and gentle correction. No teaching experience is required. The most important skill needed by the host is to be a willing and patient listener. If you are interested in learning more and serving on Monday evenings contact Sandra Seaborn, Associate Priest.

The ESL Café resumes for the season on Monday, October 16th