Student Tutoring is a schools volunteering scheme offered by V&E. It is open to all level 2 or 3 add+vantage module students on the’ Volunteering in Schools’ option, and to any non-modular students looking to gain tutoring experience. The specifics of the role can vary, from offering one-to-one support to the same child over a number of weeks, to working with a different group of children from week to week. The module requirements are for students to offer a minimum of 20 hours volunteering over 10 weeks in term 2. The scheme is open to non-modular students all year, subject to availability.
What is EAL Support?
EAL stands for ‘English as an additional language’. School children who may have recently arrived in the country, or do not get the chance to practice their English outside of school, often require extra assistance with their studies. Ideally they will be matched with a multi-lingual volunteer who can speak the same language as the child, but this is not a pre-requisite for signing up for EAL volunteering support. Because of the language barrier, both the children and the school highly value any assistance available.
Rachel Faturoti is currently working with 2 pupils in year 11, studying at Cardinal Wiseman Secondary School in Coventry. One student has recently arrived from Poland. Because of their lack of English skills, Rachel is supporting them with their work one on one, with an eye to integrating them into the lessons and working with other children.
What have you gained from the project?
Rachel is starting her PGCE course in September and felt she could do with the added experience of classroom based tutoring. This is in addition to voluntary work she took part in a few years ago at a Saturday school in her local area.
‘’This placement has been really useful as it’s allowed me to learn about different learning styles. What works for English speaking students won’t necessarily work for EAL students so you constantly have to think of new ways to get your message across.’’
‘’I’m helping the students out with their writing, so mainly their spelling and grammar. I shadow them in their lessons and try to make sure they know what they’re doing. I find that if you reiterate what you’re trying to say, they tend to get it right eventually. You need a lot of patience for this kind of role’’.
‘’I’ve definitely been able to work on my communication skills during my placement. It has also allowed me to brush up on my own grammatical skills as you have to be sure you’re teaching the children the right thing. What was really helpful was being able to observe the teachers and learn how they put lesson plans together. I feel more confident about doing that myself now.’’
‘’The students were both pretty confident when I first met them, and they’ve been asking me all sorts of questions about my life!’’
Any pieces of advice for those looking to support EAL students in schools next year?
‘’Volunteering has re-enforced my desire to be a teacher, but it does open your eyes to how difficult it can be. I had forgotten what secondary school is like, but I’ve really enjoyed working with the students’’.
‘’I had to keep stopping myself from doing the work for them. I’ve developed some really good problem solving skills as a result of having to come up with new ways of getting them to try things for themselves. I find that if you break the work down and constantly reiterate what you’re trying to say, this usually works well. The teachers have also been really supportive, but they mostly let me get on with what I need to do’’.
‘’Being a third year, it has been a little bit hard to fit everything in, which is great for boosting your time management skills. Overall it has been a really good experience and I’d encourage others to take part. I would recommend really thinking about what it is you want to do, as it’s not an easy role, but the most important piece of advice is to have fun with it’’.