English At Large programs provide a ladder of support to meet the needs of local English language learners. Our volunteer-delivered services create an accessible pathway to knowledge and understanding for our learners, empowering them to join in their communities and to achieve their life goals.
Our Approach to Learning
EAL programs help learners gain the skills and confidence they need to move forward in their new lives in the United States. Some of our learners strive to join the workforce to provide for their families; others seek to navigate the American education system for themselves or their children. Newcomers need language and cultural knowledge in order to communicate with their doctor, at the bank, or in a store.
Our approach to learning goes beyond teaching English. While knowing the language is a vital step in adapting to this new life, it is but just the first step toward achieving life goals. EAL programs connect newcomers with volunteers who are active members of their community, and who generously share their life experience with their learners. Volunteers and learners develop trusting relationships that create a fruitful climate for learning. As newcomers undergo the process of adjusting to a new culture, English At Large learner programs can open gateways to understanding and achievement, and promote stronger, more inclusive communities.
Our Approach to Tutoring
Every English At Large learner has unique personal and language objectives. Our tutors provide individualized instruction, guidance, and support to help learners reach their goals.
Most EAL tutors are not ESL teachers; they are members of the community who are passionate about imparting their knowledge and life experience to help newcomers acclimate.
EAL tutors are trained in the Language Experience Approach (LEA), a learner-centered teaching method and diagnostic tool which provides a starting point for language and cultural instruction. The learner is given a speaking prompt, and the tutor transcribes the response, word for word. This learner-generated text contains context and vocabulary that is familiar and relevant to the learner. The text can then be used for a variety of learning activities, and provides opportunities for side-by-side development of the four language skills: speaking, listening, reading and writing.
EAL tutors employ a variety of other teaching tools, including textbooks, internet resources, and real-life materials, such as PTA newsletters, employee handbooks, citizenship exam questions, and workplace communication documents.
Tutors receive ongoing encouragement and support from EAL staff, and have full access to the English At Large Resource Library. Professional development, offered by EAL staff and through our partnerships with other providers and the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education, helps ensure that our tutors have the resources they need to support their learners’ success.
Our learners seek to improve their understanding of English language and U.S. Culture in order to:
- secure a job or advance their career
- enroll in college or university
- improve family communication
- become active at their child’s school
- volunteer in their community
- learn how to use public transportation
- vote in an election
- pass the U.S. Citizenship exam