Disclaimer: We do not teach/speak Parseltongue.
Do you speak a foreign language? If yes, then this post is for you!
This week`s Project Spotlight is about “Language Tutors”. Language tutors join pupils in local primary and secondary schools and assist teachers with the provision of modern language teaching. The languages they help with are mostly French and Spanish, but that’s not all. There is also a Language Register, which allows volunteers to teach English to pupils who struggle with the language. So, if you are a speaker of another language, you can individually tutor a pupil whose mother tongue is the language you speak.
How do we teach?
Our contributions entail either being a classroom assistant during classes; or an extracurricular tutor who organises language activities during lunch breaks or after school.
My experience as a language tutor
I volunteered to teach French at Cardinal Newman School in Coventry, where I played the role as a classroom assistant for two secondary school French teachers. That was my schedule for every Wednesday in term 2 last year, with each volunteering experience lasting for about 2 to 4 hours. Although French is not my native language and I only took French B at Standard Level for my International Baccalaureate Diploma, I had no difficulty in teaching it. Some of the students I worked were novice in French, whilst others who were more advanced, up to the GCSE level.
Besides, Language Tutors offers a great opportunity to volunteers to meet with others who share the same passion. I am delighted to have befriended two other Warwick volunteers who taught Spanish in the same school as I.
The activities I carried out as a language tutor are varied:
- I worked individually with students in a separate room on pronunciation and on conversing.
- I explained and corrected students` mistakes while they were working individually on their written assignments.
- I consolidated students` knowledge of grammar and enriched their vocabulary.
- I made sure that younger students copy down things correctly from the board.
- I drew the teacher`s attention towards recurrent areas of struggle for students, so that he could draw the attention of the entire class on that particular aspect.
- At the teacher`s request, I worked more closely with the students who needed more guidance.
The volunteering work I did at school last year was both challenging and spiritually rewarding. I encountered a few uncooperative students. Therefore, my role as a language tutor requires me to concentrate on what I teach, and also to arouse students’ interest in order to motivate students and help them realise the importance of linguistic advantage. I believe that a student’s academic success is affected by the amount of attention and guidance provided by tutors during his or her formative years. It is truly a gratifying experience to share my knowledge with the pupils.
Interviews with the coordinators
Ms. Olga Nieto Cordero, the language coordinator at Cardinal Newman School:
I strongly encouraged more volunteers to join Language Tutors. The teaching experience that you developed with us will assist you in life.
Mr. Michael, one of the French teachers at Cardinal Newman School:
The invaluable contribution of a language volunteer enhances the students’ class experience.
How to Join?
Language Tutors is open to all Warwick students next academic year! Please visit the volunteering fair in October 2016 and sign up to be a member of Warwick Volunteers!
More information about Language Tutors could be located on our project`s webpage: http://www2.warwick.ac.uk/about/community/volunteers/volunteering/language/
and our Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/languagetutors.warwickvolunteers/?fref=ts.
Please like our official Warwick Volunteers Facebook Page for more volunteering opportunities:
If you have any questions or suggestions, feel free to contact me at: C.C.Ignat@warwick.ac.uk.
Joseph Beuys, artist and art pedagogue said: “To be a teacher is my greatest work of art”.