The Language Register is a volunteering scheme offered by CUSU Volunteering and Employability that matches multilingual student volunteers with primary and secondary school children with limited English skills. By matching them with a student who is able to speak both English and the child’s native language, children gain invaluable support with their school work and are better able to understand the subject matter in the classroom.
The language register is open all year round, but is subject to availability. When registering with V&E, make sure to tell us which language you can speak and we will match you with any child who needs support in that given language.
What have the students gained from the project?
Monica Dinu and Andreea Moise are both international students from Romania. The language register was the perfect volunteering opportunity for them as they are both seeking a future career in teaching, and have a desire to support students who have recently arrived from Romania.
‘’I have been supporting two children this year, one boy and one girl. I help with basic English language skills including pronunciation and grammar. When I first met the students I would be helping, neither were prepared to speak any English. Because of this they felt isolated from other children and were not able to contribute in class. Coming to the end of my volunteering time, one of the students is now talking with me a lot, and the other student is definitely improving on his own skills’’. – Monica
‘’I assist the child I’m working with in both literacy and numeracy and I also help him with phonetics which helps with his pronunciation. We work together on slightly different tasks to the rest of the class as he is not currently working at the level of the other children. We concentrate on basic grammar and vocab, and use pictures for word association exercises’’. – Andreea
‘’Both of the children we’re working with do have some English skills, but they have big problems with confidence and are worried about getting it wrong if they speak to others. After working with us for a number of months, they feel comfortable with us and always want to involve us in any work they’re doing.’’
‘’It’s a shame that there isn’t anything like this back home. Teachers tend to concentrate on students who are performing well and the ones who struggle don’t receive this level of support’’.
Would you recommend this scheme to other students?
‘’This is a great way to get some experience if you are thinking of going into teaching. We have both noticed an improvement in our skills such as patience, understanding the learning needs of children and knowing how to be flexible with your time. It has also built our confidence levels when working with children’’.
‘’Not only this, but travelling to my school every week has allowed me to get to know Coventry better. I now know what bus to take to get around, and I even discovered a big Tesco close to the school I am volunteering with!’’.
Any pieces of advice for those thinking of volunteering next year?
‘’Have patience and don’t try to rush the results. You have to wait for the child to progress, so have a little faith’’.
‘’Expect more than you sign up for. Sometimes children misbehave and it can be difficult for them to pay attention for long periods of time, so always have some ideas for what to do with them’’.
‘’And finally, don’t go to the school feeling upset. Leave your worries at the door because children can pick up on this’’.