A common question that arises for new English B'Yachad tutors is, "How do I structure my sessions with my student?" "You haven't given me a curriculum.... how do I know what to do. It's a bit daunting."
English B'Yachad has intentionally not provided a week by week structure to our program because each student's goals and interests are so different. We want you to learn from your student how best to meet their needs and help them articulate their goals.
A new tutor shared in our March 15 Tutor Talks that he was anxious about the lack of structure, but after several weeks of meeting with his student, he truly appreciates the flexibility and is enjoying creating a plan for his learning sessions catered to his individual student.
We remain committed to ensuring that the student and his/her needs and goals remain the driver for structuring learning sessions and content and we recognize that each of our students is different. We have, however, learned from our tutor community that there are many strategies of creating structure that may be useful but remain flexible and adaptive.
Here are some suggestions from our tutor community:
Long time educator, Gary Kay, reminds us to start off our weekly connection with the student with a question such as "What's going on in your life?". His advice - always make an effort to ensure that your time with your student is fun and non-threatening.
Integrate what's happening in your student's daily life as content for your lessons so that the student can utilize vocabulary that's relevant to their day-to-day lives.
Be alert for patterns of errors in your student's speech. Those patterns can provide for content and focus in learning sessions. For example, if your student often makes a common verb usage mistake, such as "I working on...." vs the correct "I am working on" ask your student to compose 5 sentences using the correct structure, "I am." (We are not about correcting every mistake, but when we do discern patterns, it's a good idea to point this out and work on it, assuming that your student agrees!)
Denise Wolpert divides her sessions into three segments. She may start off with a review of what was covered before, introduce a short grammar topic, and use short readings from Newsinlevels.com and English At the Movies as resources to structure the other parts of her learning session. Denise shared that she always asks her student to pick the topic for selecting readings.
Ask your student each session, what do they want to work on? What's important? Periodically follow up to discuss the goals established to learn if you are hitting the target for your student. If not, reach out to get some assistance.
And speaking of Goal Setting...
You may recall in a recent blog post, entitled "Goals are Dreams with Deadlines" we shared several strategies for helping your student articulate what he or she wants to get out of the learning sessions with you. This month, more resources on this topic emerged and I have to thank a brand new tutor, Rabbi Lisa Malik, who is volunteering with another program, ENGin, that provides English tutors to Ukrainian refugees. Like English B'Yadchad, ENGin provides online resources. Please note that our population and that of ENGin differ significantly and you'll want to curate any resources used. Following are links to three resources that Lisa pointed out as useful.
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