Teach English in Xue'an Zhen - Nantong Shi

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I am part of a United States non-profit organization (Corazón de Esperanza, website: cdehope.org) that does its work in Peru, South America. There, we have a transitional home for youth that were orphans that is staffed by local Peruvians. Their native language is Spanish, which is my second language. I have been to the home many times over the past eight years. Today we have 18 youth living in the home ranging from ages 17-21.. Over the years, I have gotten to know the youth and staff, learning of the youth’s struggles and challenges during their previous years. The stories are heart breaking but we give them an opportunity during a three-year period to become independent. I have made a few attempts to teach some English to our youth and staff, but I never had a plan on how to do it. I would sporadically make a list of words and do vocabulary drills. Needless to say, it was not very entertaining for the particular student. There was no lesson plan and I had never heard of ESA (Engage, Study, Activate) until taking this course. So, not being a teacher, I didn’t have any background on how to teach. Do I teach them using both English and Spanish? How do I make it entertaining? Let’s just say, it didn’t go well and I was frustrated. The icing on the cake was when I was there last year and I sat in on a couple of workshops (classes) in English given by one of the locals at the home. The teacher’s pronunciation was awful (very heavy accent) and the focus of the lessons was not what it should have been. A prime example was that one of the lessons focused on contractions as opposed to pronunciation. Well, the lesson couldn’t focus on pronunciation because the teacher was not a native speaker. It was a very painful experience especially when I tried to politely correct the teacher and she insisted that she was right! Afterwards, I sat down with some of the youth and explained to them (in Spanish) the importance of learning how to pronounce words in English like a native speaker. Our youth have various levels of interest in the English language. They are required to take basic English in school. Quite a few times I have helped them with their homework, but again, I can see that it is not being taught by native speakers as their homework assignments had many errors. I have sat with our youth many times to explain to them the importance of learning English. Maybe someday they will understand. So, here is another area where taking this course was helpful as it showed me ways to make learning English entertaining for them. During my next trip to Peru I am preparing to teach a class (workshop) in resume preparation, cover letter writing and job interviewing skills. Having now taken this course, I have a much better idea on how to prepare this using the ESA format to make this a much more effective and entertaining course. The activate phase will have mock interviews. I also now have a much better idea on how to develop a lesson plan for teaching them English.