English conversations club „Let‘s Talk“: the benefits of lifelong learning

Let's Talk club

Language learning is a great brain workout with positive cognitive effects. It is also a kind of vehicle that allows you to dive into the depths of another culture and reveals the wonderful diversity of the world. Finally, it is a great opportunity to gain more self-confidence, to discover new areas of interest.

The English conversations club “Let’s Talk”, since 2018 operating in Panevėžys County Gabrielė Petkevičaitė-Bitė Public library,  currently unites 50 English language enthusiasts who meet once a week in the library and twice in online classes. The club’s discussions cover a wide variety of topics – social, psychological, philosophical. The attendees talk about movies, music, articles and books that they read. Various activity formats are used – discussions, games, poetry readings, brainstorming sessions, tours. Methods of Story Sharing Cafe and visual thinking are used in the classroom. Club members like tasks in the exhibition spaces of the library, when, getting acquainted with the expositions, they not only learn about art, but also develop their memory and enrich their vocabulary.

Interesting challenges and various formats of meetings

Club members have been trying themselves in the role of discussion moderators recently. The members of “Let’s Talk” who conducted the classes claim that this activity is not only a greater responsibility, but also a pleasant challenge. Meanwhile, for the participants of the meetings, the sessions conducted by their mates are an interesting innovation, diversifying the weekly sessions, because each moderator has their own style and priorities for choosing topics.

“Let’s Talk” members appreciate the non-traditional format of the sessions – they liked participating in the city tour conducted by a professional guide in English. During this walk, it was possible not only to hear previously unknown facts about Panevėžys, but also to learn new English words. The members of the club got acquainted with the history of Panevėžys and visited the memorial apartment of theater director Juozas Miltinis, where they discussed the topic of theater, visited the personal library of the legendary director, and saw the authentic environment of the apartment of Juozas Miltinis.

Although virtual sessions were the club’s only way to meet during the pandemic, they remain popular today as well. They are attended by club members, for whom it is more convenient to have classes during the day, as well as English language enthusiasts from other Lithuanian cities and foreign countries.

Getting to know other cultures

The club is always looking forward to meetings with guests from abroad. In 2023 two groups of students from Spanish adult education institutions visiting the library took part in the „Let’s Talk“ classes. During these meetings, both Lithuanians and Spaniards not only improved their spoken English skills, but also talked about cultural peculiarities, traditions, and lifestyle.

Meetings with English-speaking guests are welcome and useful for the club members. Such visits enrich the content of the classes, as there is an opportunity to hear the correct pronunciation, learn new words and phraseology, and correctly understand the context in which they are used. in 2023 guests from the US states of Texas and Virginia visited the club’s classes. According to club member Jūrate, meetings with English speakers are a different form of club activity. It’s like spices that give the cake a special taste.

An interesting novelty for the club members was the meeting with the professional storyteller Richard Martin, who not only impressed with masterly told stories, but also involved the audience in discussions and interactive tasks.

New activities in 2024

Many new activities await the club in 2024. A connection has been established with the reading club of the Ray County Public Library in the US state of Missouri. “Let’s Talk” club‘s members will participate in virtual discussions about books, develop their literary taste, and improve their discussion culture skills while sharing their insights with American mates.

From January, 2024 to August, 2025, Panevėžys County Gabrielė Petkevičaitė-Bitė Public Library participates as a partner in the Erasmus+ program project “Teaching English to Elderly” coordinated by the Latvian NGO “Vecmāmiņas.lv”. In a frame of this project, “Let’s Talk’s members will improve their English language skills with a group of adult learners in Latvia, moderators working with the groups will try various language teaching methods, groups of learners will visit each other.

The club is planning a trip to Spain, where they will meet the students of the Alcala de Henares adult education center who visited the library in 2023, participate in the activities of the project “Te regalo mi lengua” (“I give you my language”), visit the students of Alcala de Henares adult language school.

“Let’s Talk” is an opportunity to educate yourself and find like-minded people

The enthusiasm of „Let’s Talk“ members to improve is a great example that learning lasts a lifetime and is not limited to meetings in the library. Artūras, who has been attending the club’s classes from the very beginning, says: “When it comes to learning a foreign language, everyone has a threshold within us that one day we cross and become more free. You just need to put in a little effort and devote extra time to improvement – watch movies, news, read books, articles in English.”

Become a member of „Let’s Talk“ if you learned English at school, university or attended courses and if you want your knowledge not to be forgotten! In the friendly club community that always warmly welcomes new members, you will find like-minded people and friends,  gain self-confidence in the professional sphere and in leisure situations when you have to speak English.

The club meets in the library’s Arts Reading Room on Wednesdays at 5:15 p.m. Twice a week – on Wednesdays at 12:00 p.m. and on Thursdays at 5:15 p.m. – virtual club meetings are conducted on the Zoom platform.

More information is provided by the club’s moderator Virginija by e-mail virginija.svediene@pavb.lt.

Virginija Švedienė
Coordinator of Adult Education Activities