Teaching asylum seekers...first day, new teacher!!!

Teaching ESL to adults

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Joined: 05 Feb 2005, 18:26

Teaching asylum seekers...first day, new teacher!!!

Unread post by Polyhymnia »

Hi...New to this forum! I'm currently living in Haarlem, awaiting a Dutch residence permit (a veeeery looooong process) so I can work. In the meantime, a friend who works at an asylum centre in Heemskerk has offered me a volunteer opportunity to teach English to four or five asylum seekers for one day a week for two hours in exchange for free Dutch lessons. I start tomorrow.

I received a teacher degree from Canada in 2000 (teachable subjects: secondary school English & History); never obtained a job in that field. In addition, I have no experience in TEFL. Apparently my class will consist of one student each from Iran, Costa Rica, the former Soviet Union...well they ALL have different backgrounds and mothertongues. I only speak English.

The text I will be utilizing is The New Cambridge English Course 1. Apparently, they have all finished this book, but haven't had a lesson for a year, as the course is always taught by volunteers (whose first language is Dutch, I might add).

My challenge (among many!) is where to start!! Instinctively, I feel I should focus on getting to know my students and determining where to start reviewing. I don't want or need to dive in on the first class...I feel it should be a getting to know you session, and my friend will hold my hand and help me out tomorrow, but I would appreciate the benefit of others' experiences regarding:

*effective getting to know you activities
*advice regarding how to communicate with such a diverse group
*any other advice to sooth my rattled nerves!!

Thank you!
Home is where you are allowed to prosper.
Posts: 5
Joined: 03 Aug 2004, 15:02

Teaching Asylum seekers

Unread post by kevin »


I think you're right about getting to know your students. If they've finished the Cambridge Eng Course bk 1, they should be able to have a reasonable conversation in English. Take things slowly ad I'm sure you'll be fine.

Note down their errors while they're talking and choose some points to work on in the following 2 or 3 lessons.

Given their backgrounds, they'll probably expect some "serious" work. So take in one activity that is written, eg fill in the gaps as a little test from the book they used.

You'll feel great once it gets going.
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