How does an English club in your area work?

I’m planning to start an English club for people to come and speak English freely. I see that in my country, like any other poor country where English is not the first language, English is now more and more important, and one of the hardest skills in English is speaking.

You can master reading and listening by practising a lot yourself, and how long it takes to be truly proficient at reading and listening depends largely on your determination and perseverance. You must practice a lot to master writing and speaking, but for writing and speaking, it’s very much harder to practice by yourself. English courses in English centers are good, but they are always expensive, and so many people, especially students, in a poor country like mine simply cannot afford that.

So I think English club would be a good idea; it is cheap, because the major cost is only to rent the room or print the materials. People will meet maybe one time a week and talk freely about everything, in English of course. Through each meeting, people will learn much English from others, and they will be more and more confident in speaking.

I’m just branstorming at this point but would love to get some ideas and suggestions from all of you. Are there any English speaking clubs in your area? Do you join them? Do they work well? What are English-speaking clubs in your country like? What are their activities?

I’ve joined some English club, and there are certain problems to all of them. For example, the club often makes the “topic of the meeting” (which is a paper that has a reading passage and some questions) to focus the members’ discussion: divorce, leadership, forgive and forget, street vendors, the country’s economy, etc. and some specific Yes-No questions to talk about. But this often leads to clichedness, mainly because after a while there is nothing else to talk about, and because everything has two aspects, and all questions can be answered by “it depends.” If English clubs in your area often have specific topic each meeting, what is the “topic paper” like? How does the staff prepare for it? And what do the members discuss each meeting?

Are there any measures to help gradually improve the English of members, for the ultimate goal of an English club is to benefit its members? My only idea is that we would take money to buy dictionary, so the members could decide whether a word is right or wrong. And also we would insert into the “topic paper” harder readings and vocabulary, and encourage members to use dictionary. What about the measures the English clubs in your area use to improve the English of their members?

And about the MC of the club. I think MCs are one of the most important things in an English club. The MCs will lead the meeting, and plan activities to bring the whole club together. When the whole club is a unity, it would be much easier for members to learn English. I think of plays, games, story telling (all in English). Do you have any suggestions on other activities like that? How are MCs in your English clubs? Do they do their job well and how?

And any ideas about how to have people good at English come to your club? If there is some people who are expert at English are in the club, members can learn a lot from them.

I’m just brainstorming, and any ideas are appreciated. If you have ever joined any English club, feel free to comment about anything of the club, not just the topics, MCs, etc. that I mentioned above. I appreciate your help. Thanks in advance.