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rexpresso's avatar

I am going to teach English on a volunteering basis. No experience. Please help me prepare and do a good job.

Asked by rexpresso (922points) June 17th, 2010
7 responses
“Great Question” (2points)

This is at a local development association that I began volunteering with. There will be 15 people attending two 90m classes per week with me, 6pm tuesdays and thursdays.

It’s the basics. How are you, names of colors, and so on… but it’s no reason to be less professional. I want to do it right.

I’ve already started to email friends that are either English teachers or know someone who is, so that eventually someone will commit to mentor me in this job.

I would like to ask for your insights on how best to do this job, as I never tried anything like it. It’ll start in a week from now.

We’re talking adults here — no children to handle.

I have always been very good at English, but only have teaching experience in the area of computers, and I’m talking one-on-one.

I intend to use resources like and whatever works to get them speaking and using English in an acceptable way ASAP.

Anything you’d like to say? :)



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KhiaKarma's avatar

I would try teaching the class according to the different learning modalities. Mix them in to make it fun and keep it interesting. Some learn best by listeningor through pictures, and others through doing (games are helpful with this). Good luck and have fun with it!

Val123's avatar

I’m thinking….You’re contacting English Teachers?? I work for an English Teacher. I would suggest don’t mention nouns, verbs, participles, pronoun, adjective, preposition, interjection, prepositional phrase, object, infinitive, infinitive phrase, compound verb, direct object, clauses, independent clauses, participles (past or present), auxiliary verb (also known as “helping verbs”) compound verb…well. You get the point.

I’m thinking, from your post, the students just need a basic, even if incorrect, grasp of everyday sentences. How to say: “Where is the bathroom” even if they don’t know exactly what “bathroom” means. The sounds will work to communicate. Make it fun, but don’t teach them “Where is the can, man?” :) “I am hungry.” “Can I have a drink.” If I work with a French teacher in France for a few days, I can learn all of the “sounds” that mean those things. That’s all I need to know. That and “I need help.”

Good luck… :)

Jeruba's avatar

One thing I remember from an education class I took in linguistics is to break instruction up into short segments of different types and keep it moving. Pictures and small hand props are helpful. You might also look at the beginning-reading tools they have online for different grade levels, including sound groups and basic vocabulary words.

Are your students all from one language background or a mix? I think that makes a difference.

Here’s a classic you might want to read.

mollypop51797's avatar

First off, you should teach them the basic words. So.. start with words, then work on creating sentences, and then shortened sentences (or phrases). Don’t just give them words to memorize, make sure they actually understand the words you’re teaching them. Also, like Val123 said, don’t start them off with the nouns, verbs, etc. When I was learning Spanish, I couldn’t just sit down and memorize them, and then put forth my knowledge on a test creating sentences. I had to understand them to know them. So, when teaching these people English, make sure they understand what words they’re learning. Ok, have fun and good luck! This is a great thing you’re doing.

mattbrowne's avatar

The key to getting people’s attention is telling little anecdotes.

rowenaz's avatar

Read this book – it is the BEST. Anything by Jeremy Harmer. I started teaching English overseas in 1992, and his are the books they used in the training course at Pilgrims Language Courses when I got my CTEFLA.

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