In about 2006 Fer Torres (one of the members of our dev team), who was studying English, suggested we speak in English on Fridays as a way for him and the others in the office to practice in real-world situations. We did it for a few months and honestly it was not only fun but very beneficial for the non-native staff.
Now that I’m back doing development and helping to run a team of developers (all of whom are non-native) and now that I’m working in a shared office space (known as a coworking space here) where there are many non-native speakers of English, I suggested we take up the tradition anew. Much to my surprise, nearly everyone enthusiastically agreed.
Here’s how it works:
- On Fridays, speak in English whenever you can. The only rule is that it has to be fun. Play with the language…
- Use social media to help promote the idea. I like to post translations of common phrases in Spanish into English, phrases that might be a bit unusual or funny. I always include the #EnglishFriday hash tag.
- Whenever you text or write an email, try doing it in English! You might be surprised how much fun it can be.
Obviously, if you’re at work, there will be times when you simply need to revert to Spanish (or whatever your native language is). That’s fine, of course, because if it isn’t fun, people won’t do it.