English At Large Programs serve adult immigrants who live or work in our 21-community service area, giving them the skills and confidence they need to reach their full potential and achieve their life goals.
Just as no two learners are alike, English At Large does not have a one-size-fits-all curriculum. Our learners have different learning styles, different rates of processing information, and varying degrees of comfort when speaking a new language.
Each individual learner is unique, so our Tutors and Conversation Group Facilitators are trained to use a variety of teaching approaches to fit their needs.
English At Large is the only organization in our service area that provides one-to-one English language instruction. For those who want to learn English but struggle to learn in large classroom settings, or who are challenged to balance multiple work or family obligations, our One-to-One Tutoring Program is their only option.
Our learners thrive in a program delivered locally on a schedule that fits their busy lives, and that also offers a rigorous educational experience focused on their individual goals.
Our Tutoring Program …
- supports up to 100 tutor-learner pairs at any given time
- typically serves 150-160 learners each year.
The one-to-one tutoring relationship utilizes each learner’s strengths as a foundation for addressing his or her individual needs. The process to pair a tutor and learner takes into consideration availability, geography, as well as learner needs and volunteer interests, in an effort to ensure the best match possible.
EAL Tutors …
- complete 12 hours of interactive, workshop-style initial training
- receive ongoing support and personal guidance from EAL staff
- have access to free professional development workshops
- attend volunteer networking coffees to exchange best practices
- have full access to the EAL library’s instructional resources
Once matched, volunteer tutors meet individually with their adult learners for 2 hours each week. All services are delivered in public spaces, including local libraries, at a day and time convenient for both. Lessons target each learner’s goals, which may include employment, citizenship, and/or being an advocate for a child or family member. EAL tutors guide and encourage their learners to find ways to practice English skills every day in real-life situations, outside of their tutoring sessions. This approach helps the learner develop real communication skills that can be used immediately in their daily life.
Once enrolled, learners may receive up to 100 hours of tutoring services, delivered over a 12 to 15 month period. Those who graduate from our One-to-One Tutoring Program often maintain a relationship with their EAL tutor for many years.
EAL Conversation Groups engage intermediate to advanced English language learners in constructive activities that support ongoing language development. Because many participants interact with few native English speakers, this program provides a critical opportunity to practice spontaneous, spoken English in a supportive group setting.
Conversation Groups give participants a chance to …
- expand their vocabulary
- speak English more confidently
- increase their understanding of U.S. norms and customs
- make valuable connections with other English language learners in their community
EAL runs Conversation Groups on a trimester schedule; new groups begin in February, May and September each year. Up to 26 different groups in 16 different communities are run concurrently, varied in time of day and location, to make learning accessible and convenient. The groups engage up to 350 learners each semester; many are graduates of the tutoring program and enroll in groups for several consecutive semesters.
Career Access Lab (CAL)
More than 60% of our learners have a Bachelor’s degree from their home country; more than 95% have come to the U.S. eager to work. To assist and support their efforts to join the workforce and obtain meaningful employment, EAL created the Career Access Lab (CAL).
Launched in 2016, CAL integrates English language instruction with job readiness preparation. Through CAL, learners participate in a 15-week Career Group, which offers an introduction to the American workforce, resume-writing support, mock interview practice, cover letter writing support, job search resources, and referrals to educational and training programs. Enrollment in the program begins with an intake meeting, to assess each learner’s needs and career skills. Those with professional credentials or specific career goals are matched with a mentor, who provides additional guidance and support during the job search process.
This comprehensive approach to career readiness empowers our learners to take full advantage of their professional potential. Since its inception, more than 100 learners have utilized CAL to help them achieve their employment and career goals.Learn more about the Career Access Lab
Beginner English Class
EAL offers Beginner English in the high-need communities of Medford and Waltham, to fill a real need for “survival English” instruction for low-level learners. Through this program learners practice simple greetings, introducing themselves, asking basic questions and learning beginner vocabulary that is relevant to their immediate needs.
Classes are facilitated by volunteer students from Brandeis and Tufts Universities through each school’s community service programs. These students are enthusiastic teachers whose semester schedules fit well with the 8-week, 16-session classroom program. To prepare them to teach the Beginner English class, student volunteers complete a 3-hour training, provided by our Director of Volunteer Engagement, and are provided with a comprehensive curriculum. Since its inception, 50 learners have completed the program.
Summer Book Groups
EAL runs Book Groups in the summer at various public libraries across our service area. Book Groups provide opportunities for intermediate to advanced English language learners to practice reading, speaking, and writing skills. Small groups of 8-10 learners meet with their facilitator and group each week for 1½ hours, for a 6-week session. Everyone comes to the group having read the assigned text, and all are encouraged to bring their thoughts and questions to the group. Facilitators will also utilize study guides and other materials to explore story concepts, word use and composition.
Past EAL Book Groups have read “The Alchemist”, “The #1 Ladies’ Detective Agency” and “The Giver”, among others.
English At Large
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