I feel like this week I’ve been reading all kinds of posts about the growth and maintenance of languages. Moment Matters wrote a great post about Mandarin being the new global language. I also really enjoyed Loving Language’s post this week about the importance of the US becoming a multi-lingual nation. Yet even as there is push for learning and protecting languages, English remains in the highest demand by language learners due to it being the coined “global language”. For this reason, teaching English abroad is one of the easiest ways for native-English speakers to live abroad with a legal work visa and a little money in their pocket. For anyone interested in exploring the life of teaching English abroad, there are some great examples in the blogging world. Some of my favorites include:
- Quinn in Morocco – she teaches English to children in Morocco through the Peace Corps
- Our Dear Lady Expatriate – has been teaching English for several years, first in South Korea and now in Cambodia
- Travel Thayer – an English teacher in an elementary school in South Korea
But teaching English is not limited to those of us that want/are able to live abroad. As I’ve worked with the refugee community in Oklahoma City, I’ve realized that for non-English speakers living in English-speaking countries, their needs for language training is extremely great. And there are tons of opportunities for us to help meet this need in our own hometowns. Here are just a few:
Teach in a Classroom Environment
Many religious groups, libraries, and non-for-profit organizations offer English as a Second Language courses. These courses typically meet once a week and are led by a certified TEFL instructor. If you are not TEFL certified, you can often still volunteer in the classroom helping the students with excises and practice conservations.
Serve as a Language Partner
If you prefer one-on-one interaction, becoming a language partner may be the best fit. This is a great way to build a relationship with a recent immigrant and can be mutually instructive if you are willing to learn the native language of your partner. If you prefer to do this virtually, The Mixxer is a site that helps match you with a language partner anywhere in the world.
Become an Online Language Coach
If you’re unable to find a language partner program or ESL course to volunteer in, another easy opportunity is to volunteer online. Organizations like I Want to Learn English train volunteers to help English language learners practice their skills and ask questions. All you need is a computer and internet.
While Rosetta Stone is certainly a helpful tool for a newly settled immigrant to learn the language, there is nothing like having a real person to help with pronunciation and context. If you’re looking for a way to give back and volunteer for the new year, helping someone learn English could be an ideal choice.
For more information on teaching English, check out this guide done by Colorado State University: Teaching Guide: ESL Volunteer Guide. It is a well-done resource.