Wednesday, February 24, 2016

The Only Drop-In ESL Program of Its Kind in Calgary Gets Upgrades All Around

Perhaps the most unique and accessible of all our programs, CIES has been delivering its one of kind Drop-In ESL Program since 1988. Last year we served over four hundred clients from 66 countries with the program and clients consistently say the structure allows them to improve their overall communicative competence and work on their language skills in a flexible way, despite their other commitments. Funded by Alberta Human Services, it is one of our few programs even open to Canadian citizens.

Even though these ESL classes are run on a drop-in basis, a high standard of classroom instruction is maintained and volunteer tutors are central to the program. All 28 Drop-In ESL classes we offer each week are taught by enthusiastic and dedicated volunteer tutors. Last year 76 people donated over 4,100 hours of time, both in and out of the traditional classroom setting.

Training workshops are held throughout the year for our volunteer tutors. These workshops also allow volunteers to meet with each other and discuss any concerns they may have. There are also Volunteer ESL (VESL) workshops available organized by Bow Valley College and partner organizations.

That said. with nearly 30 years of success behind the program, it was time to modernize and upgrade. Over just the last few weeks, a curriculum developer was hired to update and spruce up our content and delivery, an in depth volunteer training manual was drawn up from scratch, providing break downs of each and every lesson, as well as key performance indicators and the expected learning outcomes. Full renovations to classrooms, with new tables and chairs for all, a wide array of technological upgrades, such as new laptops and tablets, along with software upgrades like Pronunciation Power and Chrome Cast have also been incorporated. Now up to 21st century speed, our flagship program can continue for 30 years more!  Below is a brief sample of the video portion of the Volunteer Training Manual provided to all those who teach within the program. More than a dozen lesson portions around 2 minutes in length are modelled by an experienced LINC instructor in order to provide a tangible look inside the CIES Classroom. The video below is an example of an ice-breaker for use at the start of a class. For more information about the Drop-In Program, watch the second video below.

1 comment:

  1. I have been a volunteer ESL teacher at CIES since last October. I have to say that this small commitment makes me SO happy! I thoroughly enjoy seeing the students once a week and hope I am helping them, in a small way. I always smile when I leave CIES after class and STRONGLY recommend that others volunteer. One 2.5 hour session a week is a small commitment.