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Author Topic: English Education Volunteer- Tips??  (Read 3757 times)

Offline BBE

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English Education Volunteer- Tips??
« on: February 28, 2014, 01:25:25 AM »
I've recently accepted my invitation to serve as an "English Language Facilitator" and to be honest, I am a little bit nervous about it, mainly because I have never taught before. For the last 5 months, I have been tutoring ESL students, with more of the focus being in conversational English so I haven't been involved too much in grammar aspect. I was wondering if anyone could offer any advice that could help better prepare myself. I know the in country training offers a lot of assistance in this department, but I would really like if I can go into it with little more of a foundation than I currently have. Thank you!

Offline RPCVro

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Re: English Education Volunteer- Tips??
« Reply #1 on: March 01, 2014, 07:39:32 PM »
English education volunteers teach at all levels in their country of service. You could have very advanced high school students or beginner grade school students. I found that the teachers with whom I worked preferred to teach the grammar parts themselves as the national tests in English had specific structures and explanations the students needed to know, which were a little different from what we learn when we studied English as our native language. If you're extremely uncomfortable about it, though, you can probably get a basic grammar book from your local library or bookstore. A quick Google search will get you lots of resources about the finer points of the English language. The same goes for curriculum design.

kelly

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Re: English Education Volunteer- Tips??
« Reply #2 on: March 02, 2014, 09:45:11 AM »
I served a while ago when internet connections were poor.  I relied heavily on Betty Azar books.  I might consider bringing some with you.  It comes with explanations for you and practice exercises for your students. 

RPCVMali

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Re: English Education Volunteer- Tips??
« Reply #3 on: March 02, 2014, 09:50:57 AM »
Honestly, from my experience, if you're tutoring ESL students now, that's probably going to be the best thing you can do. Definitely keep tutoring--the more you do it, the more comfortable you'll feel once you're teaching in country.

Offline Mr. Jon

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  • That's "bong Jon" to you, my ouns.
    • Yak in the High Life
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Re: English Education Volunteer- Tips??
« Reply #4 on: March 02, 2014, 11:19:58 AM »
1. Don't worry! The best way to learn is by doing. Adopt a scientific approach, keep your lesson plans and figure out what works and what doesn't. Ask yourself that question after each lesson as you're starting out: What worked? What didn't? Why? Things will get easier as you learn about the local culture and your students' personalities. Everybody's first few months are hard.

2. Use common sense and assign tasks in order of increasing complexity and personalization (matching, gap-fills, sentences, then something in their own words).

3. Make sure to emphasize the useful aspects of language and those that relate to your students' lives.

4. If you have fun, your students will, too, and they'll learn more if they're having fun -- games are sometimes the best ways to teach and to learn.

5. With little kids, a little reward goes a long way. Consider establishing a points system with rewards for good behavior and loss of points for bad behavior.

6. Put students in groups and let them police each other -- that will make your life a lot easier.

7. Remember that every lesson should be student-centered, with a focus on mixing up patterns of interaction.

8. If you're talking much, you're talking too much.

9. Instead of thinking of yourself as a lecturer (as many people do), think of yourself as a coach. While your students are working together, walk around and coach them individually. You'll make more of an impact talking to students as individuals.

10. Sometimes students will ask awkward questions about grammar and usage that are too complicated to quickly explain, or about matters that have already been covered and re-covered in class. Don't be afraid to tell them, "We don't have time to talk about that right now, but I'll explain it to you in just a minute/after class/next semester."

Offline Mr. Jon

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  • That's "bong Jon" to you, my ouns.
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Re: English Education Volunteer- Tips??
« Reply #5 on: March 02, 2014, 12:34:39 PM »
FTR, I just registered for the PC Forum, and I'm happy to answer any specific questions, if I can. (I'm not an expert, but I have a CELTA and taught for a year in Cambodia after spending two years editing newspapers there.)

Offline RPCVro

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Re: English Education Volunteer- Tips??
« Reply #6 on: March 02, 2014, 07:20:41 PM »
While you DO have internet access in the US, I'll take a moment to put in a plug for a project started in my country of service and passed on to current volunteers to maintain. TeachlikeaPCV.com

This website has lots of lesson plans and resources developed by Peace Corps Volunteers during their service! All current PCVs should feel free to use it and contribute your own lesson plans and resources!

Offline BBE

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Re: English Education Volunteer- Tips??
« Reply #7 on: March 03, 2014, 01:23:09 AM »
Awesome input everyone!! This was the exact advice I was looking for.

Offline Chelsea

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Re: English Education Volunteer- Tips??
« Reply #8 on: May 21, 2014, 06:50:55 AM »
Really glad I read this post! Lots of great advice..thanks guys and good luck to everyone!