Asia Pacific Studies student Ni Yew is one of a number of dedicated EFL volunteers who assist Language Academy teachers in pre-sessional English lessons.
The 18 year-old is learning Korean and Chinese as part of her studies and feels she can empathise with the international students who are improving their English skills. She also does a TESOL module and feels that the EFL volunteering is useful in improving her understanding of the best techniques to teach English to foreign students.
“I observe classes but I also work alongside the students. For example, if they’re put into groups then I’ll join a group and help them with any problems they have,” explained Ni.
“It gives the students an opportunity to talk to a native speaker which will help to improve their listening and speaking of English as well.
“I also do a TESOL module so I’m often looking at the teaching methods used in the EFL classes and thinking how I could apply them to my teaching in TESOL classes.”
Ni feels that the pre-sessional students benefit from the assistance of EFL volunteers and says it has been rewarding to see the development of the students’ English skills across the year.
“The students seem to appreciate the presence of the volunteers. They feel more comfortable talking to someone who’s in the same age range as them. Not that they don’t feel comfortable talking to the teachers as well but because I’m also a student I know what it’s like to be in a classroom.”
“They seem to be more confident with speaking and more relaxed in class. They’re now used to the presence of volunteers. You can tell they take away what they have learnt in classes and are now applying it in their other classes and situations.”
Being an EFL volunteer provides great experience for Ni in the field of teaching and she would recommend the programme to anyone considering becoming an English teacher.
“It is really rewarding and you get to meet lots of people from some interesting places. It’s also a cultural experience for you and gives you first-hand experience of what it’s like to be a language teacher. You also experience the challenges that you could be faced with as a teacher.”