I often see “English Post” activities advertised on teaching websites, which are designed to invite students to write letters to their ALTs. It’s an activity that can work wonders for students and ALTs. But I’ve discovered that we ALTs don’t have to wait for students to initiate the correspondence. We ourselves can sidestep all the start-up costs of setting up the display and waiting for students to respond by writing directly to students and asking them to write back.
Have you ever received an unexpected card from a friend? Do you remember how that made you feel? A deep sense of connection and happiness, perhaps? I think all language learners are looking for connection, and in the same way it had an impact on you, it can create a connection that students were afraid of making themselves.
I think projects like “English Post” are of course good; but please remember that we ALTs can initiate all sorts of interactions. And sometimes the unexpected ones are the most meaningful.