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Andreas Phalt Posted - 02/01/2007 : 17:33:40
I'm teaching a false beginners class and am trying to get them involved in community activities in their areas, because I feel that this will be helpful to them in many ways.

As far as I am aware, the students tend to stay within their own language and ethnic groups when not in class, and have very little contact with the broader community.

Many would like to find work, but they realise that they need to improve their English language skills first. However, they do not seem to be interested in any kind of voluntary work, which would be very beneficial to them in terms of language acquisition and work experience/references.

Any ideas on how to get people at this level to break out into the wider community?
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elaine Posted - 11/12/2007 : 20:37:50
i agree with the previous answer.You could also try and bring them out.. for example plan a day trip where they will have to interact.. planning the words they will use before you go.. you could also try learning words for a film and taking them to see a specific film which they choose.this will involve them in reading (reviews) and learning new words. it can be an exciting time as they practice asking for popcorn etc..

el by
Emer Posted - 02/01/2007 : 22:07:31
Hi Andreas,

I think it can be quite daunting for learners to start engaging in the local community. This can often be because their only contacts with local people are at an official level. I lived abroad myself for a long time and found it very difficult to 'break in' to the local community.

At lower levels it can be really difficult. One great idea I got from another teacher (thanks, Ciara!) is to bring 'ordinary' people in to visit low level classes for the learners to interview. This is always a great success as the learners are really interested in the lives of Irish people. Learners really appreciate the chance to talk to their 'guests' and this contributes to confidence to talk to people outside class. If you can persuade local friends or family to spare an hour, it is well worth it.

When learners are more confident, the voluntary work option is fantastic - if you can persuade people to do it. I have found that a class outing to a charity shop usually results in a few interested students doing a couple of hours voluntary work a week which really helps them to get to know people. Again, I think teachers can really help by making the first step less daunting.


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