Second year English Literature and TESOL student Fozia Fazal is one of a number of dedicated EFL volunteers who regularly join Language Academy classes to provide support to students learning English.
The 20 year-old, who lives locally in Preston, sits with groups of pre-sessional students once a week to help assist the teachers during classes.
“It involves helping the teachers out in lessons. When the students are asked to do group activities we help to monitor them, join in sometimes and also encourage students to participate in discussions,” explained Fozia, who wants to become an English teacher once she graduates.
“The most rewarding thing for me is getting to know the students. They are very friendly and you can tell they appreciate you being there to help them out. I guess it’s just knowing that you’re helping them to improve their English but it’s not done in a condescending way, you're there to help more like a friend.”
Fozia has been volunteering for three months now as is set to gain a Students’ Union Livesey Award at the end of the year which recognises the hard work done by volunteers at UCLan. During the time she has spent in classes so far, she can already see a big improvement in the students’ development.
“When I first started that was the same week the students began as well so they were very shy and reluctant, but now when I’m working with the same students I can see such a big difference. They’re much more confident and their English speaking skills have improved quite a lot which is great to see.”
The experience Fozia has gained while working alongside international students has helped her learn the necessary skills needed to become an English teacher she feels.
“Because I do teaching practice as part of my course, volunteering with students gives me a lot more experience in terms of what learners find difficult with English language learning.
Difficulties with pronunciation and spelling are things that I’ve picked up on when volunteering so I can use that when I’m teaching as background knowledge to help me be more prepared for my lessons.”
Through helping out in pre-sessional classes, Fozia has witnessed the advantages of the course and would recommend studying with the Language Academy at UCLan.
“The course is really good and the teachers are very friendly. The classes are interactive and communicative and are not only about helping the students with their academic studies but also with their everyday life in the UK as well.”