As getting together in person isn't possible, Hutt volunteers recently met in cyberspace to improve their teaching skills.
With English lessons moving to internet classrooms and Skype, volunteers who want to upskill are also joining online – nimbly adapting to our ‘new normal’.
With the COVID-19 situation worsening, and face-to-face tutor workshops impossible, it seemed the Hutt centre’s March workshop would be cancelled. So the centre got to work immediately on trialing an online workshop for volunteers.
Hutt manager Christine Cook and volunteer coordinator Chris Yuan urgently sorted the practical responsibilities around running online sessions with presenter Dr Marty Pilott. “Fortunately, we were totally on the same page as Marty,” Christine Cook says.
They quickly sent volunteers new registration notices and information about the change. “What was exciting was that MORE registrations came in in the new few hours,” Chris Yuan says. “People were really enthusiastic about it!”
On workshop day, Marty and Chris sent out links, materials and instructions to familiarise tutors with what was happening and to check they could deal with the Zoom software features.
“We ended up with 25 volunteers,” says Chris. “Everybody looked happy. Marty ran an enthusiastic, relevant workshop. There was loads of interaction and practice. It was an amazing session.”
“It was exciting to be involved,” says one volunteer. “Especially as I’ve never used the Zoom system before.
“I learnt more from Marty’s exercises than I thought, and it’s given me new things to try out.”
Another volunteer says the session was “definitely worthwhile” and that it was also nice to see the different Zoom features.
As New Zealand grapples with life under lockdown, it’s inspiring to see English Language Partners’ volunteers continue to build on their teaching skills.
If you would like to become an ELP volunteer and join our team of ESOL home tutors, please get in touch.