Archive for Tag: Skip Demuth

Monday, May 2, 2011

The Immigrant’s Speech

The following post was sent to us  by a local volunteer teacher.  I’m sure all of us who are ELT professionals have at one time or another done one-on-one tutoring.  I’m sure any feedback or suggestions we can give volunteer teachers on our site will be much appreciated.   -Betty Azar

The Immigrant’s Speech

By Skip Demuth
Volunteer English Tutor
Whidbey Island, Washington

About three months ago a man I know in the neighborhood named Joe called me because he’d heard I was an English tutor, or ESL (English as a Second Language) teacher.  Not true, but some truth attaches to that rumor.

In 2004, on a whim, my partner and I enrolled in a one-month ESL training class in Ban Phe, Thailand, a couple hours southeast of Bangkok.  Based on the British Oxford system of “teaching English as a foreign language,” or TEFL, this course put us through a rigorous set of lessons and drills, practice teaching in the Thai public schools, watching video of our performances, completing reams of paper work, and sitting for lectures.  An intensive overview.

At the end of the course, we returned to Whidbey Island with Thai government certificates and resumed our lives.  I tried some classes in a church annex for Mexican immigrants I’d met, but they didn’t last.  I volunteered at the middle school, working with two students, a Columbian and a Thai who basically needed fine-tuning in pronunciation and, I guess, you would call it “cadence,” or accent.  I liked working with these fellows, and they responded. We mostly studied the Gettysburg Address, the brief but elegant eulogy for dead soldiers, tied-in to their history class.

Joe called me because his wife Kefen needed some English tutoring.

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