GeoVisions Blog

Participant Stories

I Live With A Family In Turkey And Teach Them English-Help Me Teach

Posted by Randy LeGrant | Oct 4, 2012 11:03:00 AM
live with a family in spain and teach them englishEach week, GeoVisions posts an actual email from a Conversation Corps tutor, a Conversation Partner or a full time teacher abroad on a GeoVisions program.  We call the series, Help Me Teach Abroad.

Our Help Me Teach desk is manned by Betsy Bruneau, a full time ESL teacher here.  She gives teaching assistance to GeoVisions' participants by phone, email and Skype.  It is a FREE service that GeoVisions provides to all of our participants and they can have access to Betsy before they depart and during the program.  If we can help you be an amazing teacher or tutor, you will be happy, your students or host family will be happy, you will tell people they should try this out and we will have a repeat family and school.  And that's how we want to roll.

browse by tagYou can find a lot of these posts by clicking on the Help Me Teach tag.  You can find that over on the right side of this screen.  The tag box looks like this one.  We will put all of our Help Me Teach posts right there.  And who knows...one of these days we'll have enough to make up our own E-Book, which of course we'll give away for FREE.

I am tutoring in Istanbul this summer to a 10-year-old in 3rd level English and an 8-year-old in 1st level English.  I would like to know what they are learning in 1st and 3rd level English in Istanbul to find out what they are learning and already will know, and where I can begin my lesson planning.  Any help with this would be great.  Many thanks.

Hi Marilyn

My name is Betsy Bruneau and I have been an ESL teacher for about five years. I have been a high school teacher for 15 years and have worked in Child Welfare Services before that.  I love to work with my English language learners and love to learn from them.  I tell you this to put you at ease in terms of what the children are learning in school.  Chances are, what the kids are learning in school have little to do with what they will learn from you.

Remember, you are there to teach them conversational English.  They don't need to be worrying about verb tense or which article to use.  A message can be made without tribute to their schooling.  Make it fun.  What is fun to you?  Chances are that your host family will be more akin to absorbing something that you are clearly interested in.  A ten year old and an eight year old can have a variety of interests.  I think of my eight year old niece, who had no trouble communicating with her cousin from Italy when they visited.  They shared magazines, books, and music.  I would start with what is interesting to you.  My own children have always loved learning about nature.  How about magazines like "Ranger Rick" and "Your Big Backyard".  Something that might even be more near and dear to your heart could be some sort of publication from where you are from, something that you can talk about personally.  

I also think that you shouldn't disregard SOME material that we would consider to babyish.  The eight year old might really relish an opportunity to look over some of Richard Scarry's word books.  They are clear, to the point, and easy to understand.  They are as babyish as you make them.  

Your ten year old can be more of a challenge because of the age.  Also, are they a secular family?  Is the child a boy or a girl?  There is so much that you can do with a child of that age because they are truly starting to discover the world.  Do they like sports? architecture, nature, reading?  In order to best reach these kids, its best to know what they are interested in.  I have gone as far, in my classes, as acting out certain scenarios.  Don't rule out anything.  

Ask your family what they want to learn.  Are they interested in just formal conversation?  Do they want to know about food and cooking?  sports?  leisure?  the president?  (Always bring information about the president and the president's stand on Turkey, they always want to know).  

I envy you this wonderful opportunity.  Please be in touch with more information so that I can offer more suggestions.  I look forward to hearing from you.

Betsy Bruneau

Written by Randy LeGrant

Randy is the Executive Director of the GeoVisions Foundation. He has spent the last 44 years managing organizations that send people abroad on cultural and educational exchanges.

Leave a Comment

Popular - Posts - Last - Month


See all blog topics