Session 1: Understanding the Context
The objectives of this session are:
- To familiarize you with the adult ESL learner
- To discuss factors that may affect the learner
- To introduce general strategies to help motivate the learner
The Benefits of Tutoring:
Being a tutor can be a very rewarding experience. The benefits of tutoring include:
- Developing transferable skills that can assist you both personally and professionally.
- Learning about another culture and way of life.
- Learning about yourself and your own culture as you are given the
opportunity to see things you may take for granted through another set of eyes.
- Making a positive contribution in the lives of the learner's entire
family. Helping a mother to communicate in English not only helps
her as an individual but enables her to take a more active role in her
children's schooling and to contribute to the larger community.
A: The Tutor
What makes an effective tutor?
According to Judy Blankenship1, good tutors are:
Students need to gain their own skills, not see a demonstration of the
skills a tutor possesses.2
- Good tutors recognize who the learner is as a person and as a
learner; they try to use methods that are appropriate
for the skill level and learning style of the learner.
- Are in partnership with the learner and decide what happens
in the tutoring session with the learner and not just for the learner.
- Learning another language takes time and an incredible amount
of effort. A second language is not something that can be
learned in six weeks or even a year. It is a life-long process,
which can cause frustration and anxiety for learners who are used to learning
in a classroom where the material is limited and easy to master.
- Patience is necessary to keep up the morale of the learner
and provide an environment where learners want to take risks.
1 Judy Blankenship Cheatham et al., Tutor: A Collaborative
Approach to Literacy Instruction (Syracuse, New York: New
Readers Press, 1993), p.28. Used by permission.
Ruth Johnson Colvin, I Speak English (Syracuse, New York:
New Readers Press, 1997. )
2 Ruth Johnson Colvin, I Speak English
(Syracuse, New York: New Readers Press, 1997), p. 29. Used by permission.