English Language Coaching: DIY

Picture of Anneli Andre Barrett

Anneli Andre Barrett

Ever wanted to try some English language coaching?  Is it essential to have training to get started? Remember that neighbourhood soccer coaches are not World Cup professionals, but rather moms and dads who care about their kids and sports.  Similarly, ESL language coaches are sponsors and volunteers who simply want to help newcomers learn English, improve their communication skills, and gain confidence.  

It is easy to start. You just need to consider the needs and situation of the newcomers you are sponsoring – help them arrange childcare, schedule regular instruction times and durations, and determine whether classes will be in person, or on the phone or by Zoom. Always ask their permission to be corrected, and check if they wish to have homework.

You will be supplementing their formal ESL course work, not replacing it. Consider a conversation circle; quiz them around introducing new vocabulary, e.g. sports or camping. Prompt them to have dinner discussions with their families in English, and practice interviewing for work and doctors’ visits. You might want to think about guiding them through a Canadian geography and culture workbook. You could suggest “high interest/low vocabulary” books from the library. And, if you want to make it fun, try ending each session with a focus on idioms.

The key is that you are not evaluating the newcomers with whom you work, but are focused on providing coaching and encouragement in a safe space for them to achieve low-stress success. Focus on oral reading, reading comprehension and vocabulary development by planning about 10-20 minute sections in each of your sessions. Make sure to include some friendly chat!

Be an uplifter. You can contribute to changing the world by respecting and meeting newcomers’ needs in helping them prepare for their new lives in Canada. If you want to chat about this kind of opportunity, get in touch with me at anneliandrebarrett@gmail.com.

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