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  1. #1
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    New volunteer tutor needs help

    Having recently retired, I have signed on as a volunteer tutor for newly arrived migrants in Australia. I have no experience in teaching at all. My first student is a 24 year old lady from Sudan in Africa. Her husband attends English school and is apparently teaching her by speaking and listening. She has told me she wishes to learn to read and write and most of the resources I have found are children's books, with childish pictures. Is it okay to use these? Should I begin with lower case a b c d etc or try and teach lower and upper case at the same time. Any suggestions as to how to begin would be much appreciated

  2. #2
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    Re: New volunteer tutor needs help

    She has told me she wishes to learn to read and write
    In which language did she tell you that?
    If she is not completely illiterate, she should know Arabic which has a few more alphabets than English. I believe she wants to learn how to speak English so using children books is a good start to learn the basics.
    Last edited by Temico; 26-Aug-2005 at 10:51.

  3. #3
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    Re: New volunteer tutor needs help

    Unfortunately she does not speak Arabic, she speaks Dinka (so I am told by the authority which sent me there). I am not able to find any free Dinka resources on the internet as I had hoped to greet her in her own language. She has a few words only of English and indicated to me by making a writing motion that she wants to read and write. She has a few words of English which her husband (who attends English School) is teaching her. For example, she knew eyes, nose, mouth, hair etc. They have come from a refugee camp in Uganda and she did not have the opportunity to have any schooling in Sudan or Uganda. She has a baby and a 2 year old so I am proposing to teach her initially the alphabet and simple words but realise she is going to be constantly distracted by the children. She does not leave her home - her husband does all the shopping etc. Any ideas?

  4. #4
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    Re: New volunteer tutor needs help

    She has a baby and a 2 year old
    That will be all the more reason for you to use children books because she can teach her kids and practice with them too----three birds with one stone.
    To my knowledge, Sudanese refugees have to stay many years in Uganda before they get re-settled( if ever) elsewhere. In Uganda they speak "Sawahili" which utilizes "a, b, c,..." alphabets in their written script. You shouldn't have much difficulty teaching her the alphabets unless, of course, she is completely illiterate.

  5. #5
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    Re: New volunteer tutor needs help

    Thanks again, I will be seeing her this week but from background info given I suspect she is illiterate as she has had no schooling whatever and you are right, I think she has been in a refugee camp for years. This has been a big culture shock for me as she is very frightened and she and the children were sitting in the house with the curtains & blinds all closed so nobody outside could see a woman on her own. The house was very bare and I did not see any toys or similar. This is going to be a very big challenge, especially for a newbie like me.

  6. #6
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    Re: New volunteer tutor needs help

    It is common for illiterate "have-not" refugees to be exploited by others( including other refugees) especially in Third World countries----which is probably the reason for the closed curtains and blinds. Since you appear to be friendly and willing to help, I am sure you would soon earn her trust and confidence. Good luck to you!

  7. #7
    Tdol is offline Editor, UsingEnglish.com
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    Re: New volunteer tutor needs help

    I'd take things very slowly and start with some spoken English first. After all, she is more familiar with spoken language. Use lots of pictures to get her looking at paper before starting on the alphabet.

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