Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Lumiere English Academy Distance Teaching Course - Preparatory Phase

Education - the Key to a Brighter Future

HERE FOLLOWS THE LUMIERE ENGLISH ACADEMY DISTANCE TEACHING COURSE. This course was drawn up by Lumiere, and is for use copyright free for any worthy purpose. This course is designed for use over the computer and/or telephone. There are students in different areas who for varying reasons are not able to access English lessons. If you are an English Teacher/Professor, why not teach one student gratis? English enables the student to travel freely worldwide, as it is widely used as a popular lingua franca. The following course which will be made available over a series of blog posts was drawn up by myself shortly after qualifying as an English teacher. A number of students and their families kindly allowed me to quantifiably test the efficacy of the course, by undergoing the course. Success has been achieved. One student, Mr Tuhin Bagi has made use of the English linguistic skills he learned through the course in order to pursue his extra curricular studies (see links below).

When a student wishes to learn English as a second language, advise the student to put the request in writing. This gives a good start off point for both teacher and student. If the student is a minor, the study should take place under the ongoing supervision of a parent/ both parents/ guardian. Reports should be regularly written and made available to student and supervisory parent/s/ guardian. These assist the student to pinpoint his or her areas of linguistic strength, and areas where he or she needs further practice.

Organise a time which is convenient for both student/ student supervisor (parent/s, guardian) and teacher to hold the lessons e.g. once or twice a week. An essential point is that - whatever happens (and life can be very busy!) to stick to the regular lessons. If, for one reason or another, a lesson needs to be postponed, reschedule for another day.
Remember the time difference if you are teaching eg from England on Skype/ cheap mobile telephone contract call/  to another country. Time differences between different parts of the world exist. So if you organise a time and are able to access email, confirm eg 'Lesson confirmed for 10am London time, and (here insert the relevant time of the country in which you are teaching)'.

Discuss with student and student supervisor how you are going to keep track of the studies. If you are teaching a student in a squatter camp, paying for the purchase of a mobile phone, and paying for the lesson phone calls can be your donation towards the educational future of the student. Electricity is often difficult to access in a squatter camp, and often computers are simply not known. If this is so, make use of the postal service (homework and marked assignments can be posted from the relevant local post offices). Ensure stamps and paper are made available to the student as part of the donation towards the student's studies. Another option is for the student to travel to the nearest town and use the Internet Cafe there. Yet another option is a mobile phone with Internet access. Getting around the difficulties in teaching in squatter camp/ war torn/ crisis/ refugee/ disadvantaged areas is where your creativity can have full reign! Everythng is possible, but not always immediately easy.

Find out from your student and supervisors where the student's interests lie. For example, if your student loves working with cars, fuel and cricket, well then base the essays and work on cars, fuel and cricket. If your student loves baking and cheerleading, base homework on baking and cheerleading. In other words, start off by making the lessons fun and informative for the student, and give them a chance to shine in their lessons by learning English about topics that really interest them. The great thing is, you will also learn many things you did not know. When I started giving lessons, I knew absolutely nothing about fossil fuels, temple treasures, Napoleanic gold coins, mountain climbing, international car fairs and local customs from a number of countries. Now I can chat away about these topics. Being a teacher has not only enabled me to help others by sharing my love of the English language, it has also broadened my mind and knowledge base, and given me the chance to enjoy the diversity and richness of other cultures.

From Day One
From Day One organise what your strategy will be. If your student sells tea on a station, get him or her to talk about his/her experiences as a chai seller. Let him explore his world, and practise conversational skills. Do conversational role plays, giving him a chance to explore different ways of thinking. If your student is a cleaner in a house, encourage her/him to talk about her/his experiences as a house cleaner, following the same format.
The most important concept of the Lumiere English Academy course is to upgrade conversational skills, enlarge vocabulary, improve diction, and learn confidence and poise in company.

Find out what kind of books/ magazines your student likes - if your student can read. If your student can't read and write, a whole new challenge awaits you online. Options are to make contact with a kindly and upstanding member of your student's local community who has good English skills, and is willing to take time to coach your student with reading. Family members with English skills can help your student. School Principals, Librarians, English Teachers willing to give pro deo lessons, Social Workers, Charity Workers with Police clearance to work with students are often most willing to help a young student grasp a chance for education.
In eg war torn areas where many of the infra-structures have been affected or no longer exist, online English DVD's or small videos practising conversational English or learning can be made available. Another option is to make a suitcase library. Lumiere has sent these all over the world. They are easy to make. Buy a small, sturdy suitcase with two snap clasps. Fill them with educational books and reading books. Send them to the recipient, to use as a small travelling library in his/her squatter camp, home, community, refugee camp. These suitcases can be passed from home to home, be used in a container/hut/shack/plastic tent as a convenient size library. Further suitcases can be sent with reading and study material as needed.

Find out your student's age, and base your lessons around the interests of his or her age group. A thirteen year old has different interests to a student of eighteen years old or a mature student of thirty five years old. Your student needs to do regular assignments. I do not give percentages for the essays/assignments. The assignments are a tool for the student to explore his/her own strengths and areas he/she needs to work on in English. Every assignment is a triumph for the student, who is struggling - sometimes from a street corner, begging - or from behind a plough behind two water buffaloes, or from the corner of a kitchen as a scullery worker - to learn. The student is - with each assignment - taking a step further into a future where his or her dream of better education and increased opportunity is becoming a reality. 

Base your first essay on the interest of your student. If your student loves cars, the first essay thus will be  'WHAT I FIND INTERESTING ABOUT CARS AND THE REASON WHY'.
 Often in the first stages of learning, the student struggles to formulate sentences, and may be quite shy about his or her command of the English language. It is essential for the Lumiere English Academy teacher to be very encouraging of every effort made by the student.  The basis of the Lumiere teacher's philosophy is kindness and patience - bringing light into others' lives.

If your student is at school, base your lessons on the curriculum at the local school at the time. For example, if the student is learning about verbs, base your week's lesson on English verbs. If the student is learning woodworking, base your essay on woodworking. If your student enjoys games, and is playing a basketball league game, base the essay on basketball that week, and your vocabulary list on basketball. This reinforces the learning at the student's school, while increasing her or his English skills. If the student is writing exams, cease lessons until the examinations are over. If the student is going on a holiday, cease the lessons until the student comes back, and then do two lessons a week until the Lumiere Academy projected lessons timeframe is on track again. In other words, the lessons are based around the student's current needs, not constraining the student to adapt to the curriculum needs.

An example of drawing up a timetable for your student;
Your student is 13 years old
He loves cars, sport and hiking
He is in the local school's 8th class (remember that classes and their names differ from country to country)
The student's supervisor tells you that the 8th class is currently studying articles, determiners, tenses, modals, gerund, active passive,  reported speech, prepositions and clauses.
Draw up your timetable on; articles, determiners, tenses . . . and so on. It is most helpful to ask for a scan - or buy a copy of - the school books the student has at the time and base your English conversational skills on actual school lessons the student is doing at school.

If your student does not go to school, then here your creativity comes into play again. Lumiere Academy has sent English lesson DVD's  by post all over the world. We have made lessons available for free online by Dr Luky Whittle (links to same below). DVD's for computer, DVD's and small portable DVD's for use with electricity have been donated worldwide. Second hand computers have been facilitated for donation. We have posted essentials such as;  reams of paper, pencils, pens, rulers, erasers, colouring crayons, pens, paints, rulers, staplers, paper punches, plastic envelopes, envelopes, stamps, English books, colouring in books with words of English items, English alphabets, English reading books, Dictionaries with translations from the local language into English and vise versa all over the world. As well as that wonderful perennial, the globe. We found small globes of the world about 8 cm high and posted them out. They form a staple in our conversational online/ mobile call lessons. We'll tell you about them later - watch this space!

There are free resources on the Internet you can use during your lessons; worksheets can be printed out, interactional quizzes and other exercises can be done.

It is a good idea to ask the supervisor for a list of the books which the student has enjoyed in the past, eg the Hardy Boys; also, other English books read in the past and enjoyed. This list will give you ideas for some of your classes, and also what the student's past experience in reading and writing the English medium has been.

If that most wonderful of resources - the local Library - is available, encourage your student to go and enrol immediately. Any student with access to a Library has wonderful resources at his or her fingertips. Once again, I must thank Tallaght Library in Dublin for their assistance, advice and encouragement while I was writing the Lumiere English Academy Course; as well as for the books they donated which formed the start of many suitcase libraries in squatter camps, orphanages and childrens shelters, disadvantaged areas and areas of conflict. Librarians are the guardians of education and facilitate a better future for all.

Well, that concludes the Preparatory Phase - your student's application to study English is in your computer inbox or in a letter on your desk. You have your support group - parent/s, guardian to help your student locally and encourage them inbetween your regular lessons. You have organised/ donated a mobile phone, mobile contract network, computer, books, postal needs, stationery as applicable. The student is ready to start.

In the next blog post, we will begin Lesson One for the student on Skype/ Computer/ Mobile phone.
Do remember that in some countries excellent mobile contracts for international calls are available. A cost effective means of communication is essential in order to ensure regular affordable classes for the student. Many tutors make use of Skype.

Best wishes with your tutoring!
Catherine Nicolette Whittle
Diploma TESOL and EDI level 5 Diploma in Teaching English 
 London Teacher’s Training College England

Preparatory phase to teaching the English Course;
1.  Student submits a written application with permission from parent(s) / guardian
2.  Reports should regularly be written and made available
3.  Organise a time for the lesson
4.  Keep in mind the time difference between countries
5.  Plan how you are going to keep track of the studies
6.  Find out where your student's interests lie, and plan lessons accordingly
7.  Organise your teaching strategy from the very start
8.  LEA goal is to upgrade conversational skills, enlarge vocabulary, improve diction, and learn    confidence and poise in company
9.  Ascertain whether your student can read and write
10. Make a suitcase library
11. Keep your student's age in mind, and plan lessons accordingly
12. Base your first essay on the interests of your student
13. Base your lessons on the curriculum of the student's local school
14. Draw up a timetable for your student 
15. Make English teaching DVD's available
16. LEA has made gratis lessons available by Dr Luky Whittle PhD
17. Ensure student has essentials for learning
18. Ensure student has a globe
19. Make use of free resources on the Internet
20. Draw up a list of books which the student has read and enjoyed, if applicable
21. Encourage your student to enrol in the local Library, if one is available


The luminous Kenneth Beare

Teaching and learning English online

MITOpenCourseWare Tuhin Bagi 

Teen Tuhin's Story

The Future; Tuhin Bagi's Blog

Tuhin Bagi edX Learner story

How to learn to read with phonics

Dr Luky Whittle's English lessons made available gratis to Lumiere English Academy.. 
Dr Whittle PhD Vista University, University of South Africa, University of Free State, Research Dayton Ohio, USA
Doctor of Philosophy in English Literature. Majored in English and Afrikaans Languages.
Lectured at Vista University and University of South Africa (Unisa)
Authority on Marian Poetry

Learnng with Interactive Language DVD's

With thanks to ESL, ReallylearnEnglish, MIT Edu, Tuhin Bagi, Starfall, Dr Luky Whittle

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