Study guide to "I Speak English"
STUDY GUIDE TO I SPEAK ENGLISH 4th ed. (thanks to Professor Frantzen for this study guide)
English Note: We want you to get to know this book very well and to use it in all your sessions. It is important that you integrate it into all your written assignments, as the syllabus notes.
1. Chapter 1. This material is not going to be new for most college students, but it will be useful to see what Ruth Colvin has to say about workplace literacy and also family settings for learning. The more you learn about your learner's work and family situations, the more quickly you will be able to help him or her create English lessons that are specific to his or her needs.
2. Chapter 10. Read this right away, before you tutor the first time. Since you have no idea what your first session will be like (and neither do we), it's useful to read about what such sessions can be like. This will be a chance to review some ideas from orientation and to prepare yourself psychologically for tutoring.
3. Chapter 2. This chapter outlines important concepts that we stress in the orientation session. It is important to realize that "teaching English" means that you are always working in one more of these areas:
- writing. Two of these, listening and reading, are primarily passive; speaking and writing are active. You will quickly realize that learners are more comfortable with passive than active work, but that active work teaches them, and us, much more.
4. Chapter 3. We think of "culture" broadly, often, as in culture shock, customs, etc., and "feel-good" issues related to tolerance, the need for tolerance, and so on. Colvin's point here is that culture is based on communication, and the issues that we at the LC want you to focus on are the three "elements" in the diagram on p. 15:
- sound system
Just as your lessons at the LCLC will always involve one or more of the activities in #2 above, they will always involve one or more of the elements in this diagram. We're part of the middle wheel, "culture," translating elements into skills.
5. Chapter 4. Virtually everything in this chapter falls under the heading of "cultural sensitivity." To this good advice and these cautions we add our own: Don't expect your learner to reflect your own political persuasion. Learners are often more conservative than college students. If disagreements arise, tell the staff; head off conflict, diffuse it. Remember too (p. 33) that you are not a social worker and we are not a social service agency.
6. Chapter 5. Focus on pp. 41-42 (but take time to read about yourself on the earlier pages). The LC stresses one-to-one teaching and collaborative learning. You are encouraged to find ways to collaborate with your learner: That means that you share planning and evaluation.
7. Chapter 6. Become familiar with the chart on p. 51. Think about helping your learner create a portfolio (p. 52).
8. Chapter 7 and chapter 8. These are very practical chapters. They focus on resources, activities, and techniques. They are filled with specific suggestions for activities appropriate to the levels of various kinds of learners. Look at the transformation drills, for example (pp. 77-79), or the "backward buildup" (p. 81), for the kinds of activities and examples that help students learn.
9. Chapter 9. This is a key chapter, because the "lesson plan" is fundamental to what you do every evening. Find a lesson plan format that works for you; be sure you modify it with your learner's responses (but not immediately; take some time to develop a partnership first).