Volunteer Opportunities for International TEFL Academy Students

As part of the TEFL Certification course, ITA students are required to complete a twenty- hour practicum. My Culture Connect is happy to work with ITA students who need practicum hours. There are three ways that the practicum may be completed which include observing classes, tutoring, and student teaching. My Culture Connect is happy to provide these opportunities to all aspiring teachers.

Observation

My Culture Connect provides the opportunity for ITA students to observe live classes over Skype. Multiple times a week, teachers in Taiwan co-lead classes for students in Changhua County. Each week, a list of dates and times of classes is provided on Google Sheets with links to each class. Before each class, lesson materials are provided in the Skype chat for observers to download and look over.

When the video call begins, observers are asked to join with their microphone muted and their video off. This allows all parties to view the teacher leading the class as well as the class in Taiwan without interruption. Observers are welcome to use the chat feature to discuss the lesson with each other, as well as the teachers.

Observing classes provides insight into what to expect when teaching a class online. There are moments where technology may go awry, lessons may not go as planned, or mistakes happen. These are all normal experiences in the world of online teaching! Observing these mishaps and how teachers and students learn from them is as insightful as watching the successful moments.

Tutoring

In addition to observation hours, ITA students may contact My Culture Connect to be paired with an English language learner to tutor. During this one-on-one session, both parties can connect to focus on the student’s individual needs.

My Culture Connect encourages tutors to focus on practicing speaking with students. Many English language learners in Changhua County do not have many opportunities to practice speaking English outside of the classroom. Through tutoring, ITA students can connect with students in Taiwan to hone their English skills and expand their confidence in speaking.

Co-Teaching

My Culture Connect works with ITA students to provide the opportunity to co-teach a group of students in the classroom. My Culture Connect can help improve new teachers’ skills as they navigate leading a classroom remotely. After connecting with My Culture Connect about class dates, times, and lesson focuses, the ITA co-teacher will create or follow a lesson plan as well as its materials.

Fifteen minutes prior to class, the co-teachers will have a video call with each other to test audio and video functions. It is recommended that teachers have a good quality headset as this provides a smoother experience for all parties attending the lesson. During and after the class, ITA co-teachers may receive feedback to help improve their teaching methods. ITA co-teachers are

welcome to connect with observers and associates of My Culture Connect to receive more feedback to help improve their teaching techniques.

How to Succeed

My Culture Connect acknowledges how valuable it is for students in Changhua County to be given the opportunity to practice and learn English with native English speakers. To be successful, teacher qualities include being motivated, enthusiastic, passionate, and positive. My Culture Connect values building a community of teachers, educators, and students from all backgrounds who are dedicated to teaching and learning. Through this, those who love what they do and embrace each other through these experiences are the richest.

For more information and to get started, please contact Luke Lin.

Luke Lin/Skype Name: lukelin7429/email address: lukelin7429@gmail.com

VIDEOCONFERENCING-Skype Session Project

Connect and speak (in English or Chinese) with a classroom. Videoconferencing creates an incredible opportunity to experience Taiwanese culture, learn a new language, and have a direct impact on the lives of motivated students (Elementary to High School aged). Videoconferencing with a classroom generally takes place in 30 minute sessions.

Q & A for videoconferencing volunteers

Thank you for joining our Skype session project. Here is a quick Q and A which we hope addresses any questions you might have.

What is the main reason for the Skype session?

It's to help and encourage our students with their English. Most of the schools we are in partnership with have little or no access to foreign teachers so these Skype sessions offer the students a rare chance to show what they've been learning in class and use their English in a real situation.

When will the Skype session take place?

We will arrange a time with you and the school which suits both of you. Each session typically lasts for 30 minutes. We ask that you are at your computer and ready a few minutes ahead of time so that the school can contact you and make sure the Internet connection is ok.

How often?

Each school will hold a session with you once every 2 weeks at the agreed day and time.

What kinds of things will the students do during the session? Basically whatever they want to. It might be a dialogue that two students have written or learned from their textbook. It might be a song they've been taught in class or learned by themselves at home. It might be a picture they would like to show you and describe. It could even just be some questions they've learned and want to practice by asking them to you.

Do I need to prepare for the Skype session?

It depends. The point of the session is for the students to show you what they’ve been learning. Your primary role is as their attentive audience! The school will send you their plan for the session in advance so you can know what to expect. In some cases, though, the plan may include some activities you should be prepared for. Examples might be answers to their questions, or finding some pictures to supplement the activity they are doing. You should never be required to do any formal teaching though—this is the students’ opportunity to show you what they’ve been learning already.

Will the students perform individually or as a whole class?

Every school and every session will be different. If there is a student who's done some good homework, he may ask to show it to you by himself. If the class has been learning a song together for a competition, they will probably want to perform as a whole class. Many teachers like to divide their students up into groups and have them take turns to tell you something.

Should I correct the students if they make mistakes?

The aim of the sessions is to encourage the students and let them feel that it’s ok to make mistakes as they develop their English knowledge. For this reason, there is no need to point out every mistake they make. However, if there is a common problem or something that you feel would benefit the group, feel free to tell the teacher or the students themselves—whichever you feel is more appropriate.

What happens if there is a technical issue and I can’t hear the students clearly?

This is sometimes a problem. It’s important that the students believe you can hear everything they are saying; however there will most likely be instances where some words or even whole sentences are missed because of the quality of the connection. If possible, try to keep listening to them and do the best you can to muddle through but if the connection is so bad that communication is impossible, try ending the call and reconnecting.

If you’re interested in this program, please contact Luke Lin.

Email address: lukelin7429@gmail.com