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Complete beginner refugees -- Help!!

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Joined: 13 Jan 2005
Posts: 1

PostPosted: Thu Jan 13, 2005 10:53 am    Post subject: Complete beginner refugees -- Help!! Reply with quote

I am volunteering to teach refugees English in a country where English is not the primary language. One problem with the classes is that we never know who and how many will show up. That makes continuity a nightmare and planning practically obsolete. Most of the sessions have complete beginners. What can I do with them? I cover self-introductions and counting, usually there is a request to learn the alphabet. What can I teach and how to jazz it up? We are on less than a shoestring budget and have a few donated materials.

Any suggestions would be really appreciated.

Thanks in advance!
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Joined: 09 Feb 2005
Posts: 2

PostPosted: Wed Feb 23, 2005 12:09 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I am a new volunteer teacher also and found this website online that is great with suggestions. Don't know if it will help you but I have taken lots of ideas from it.
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Joined: 26 Jun 2005
Posts: 1

PostPosted: Sun Jun 26, 2005 8:00 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

^^Excellent site, thanks for posting.
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Don La Bonte

Joined: 28 Jan 2003
Posts: 13
Location: Lombard, Illinois USA

PostPosted: Tue Oct 11, 2005 5:56 pm    Post subject: conversation patterns Reply with quote

I have a free list of the most commonly used conversation patterns. Need 8 1/2" x 14" paper to print. Focus their attention on what they are going to hear and hopefully then be able to use the most.
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Joined: 04 Nov 2005
Posts: 1
Location: Washington State

PostPosted: Fri Nov 04, 2005 10:30 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

It seems that I teach with almost the same circumstances! I however teach, pre-literate mainly illegal immigrants that have been here for a few years, not fresh refugees.

Greetings are the first step. It makes them start to feel included and validated within the new society. You should also introduce them to the orintation of paper and how to hold your pencil and how to write with it. Also get them introduced to common comands that they are going to be hearing in either your class or other classes they go to later on. A couple are: "listen" "match", etc. Letters are important but the fact of the matter is that they are going to start speaking before they start reading. (I try and teach a class where the focus is learning English not learning how to write) A lot of refugees arent even literate in their first language. Good ways to introduce things are through pictures an having them make charts. For instance, foods. Draw a column of different simple foods (perferably foods they eat) and then have a colum where they can check "I like" and "I dislike" Learning how to write their names and giving addresses will also be good....oh, and teach them how to say things like "I dont know speak English" "Please repeat" "Please speak slowly"

I have a good book I got off the internet on Pre Literacy. Ill look up the address of where you can print it out.
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Joined: 07 Nov 2005
Posts: 4

PostPosted: Mon Nov 07, 2005 4:24 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi Robin!
I don't have a lot to add regarding the methodology, since others have already answered that. However, I can share with you some of my experience with such a situation, from which i learned how to increase the students' motivation.
I teach in Israel, where there are many new immigrants. Two years ago, I taught a group of new immigrants from Ethiopia. Of course I used a lot of visual aids and activities, but the problems I encountered did not concern only methodological issues. Those students had suffered low self esteem, and felt really unwelcome due to their origin. Therefore, they didn't trust my intentions, since I was "white". I believe your situation is quite similar.
I found out that when I showed interest in the mother tongue, it changed their attitude completely. We made a deal that when I introduce a word in English, they would teach me how to say t in Amharic.
That way, I gained trust, attention , and knowledge.
Eventually, this became one of the most satisfying experiences I ever had.
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