by Qiqi Z.
The students have become the teachers at the International School of Beijing’s (ISB’s) Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL) club. The club was formed earlier this term, to help engage ISB support staff in English language studies. TESOL is now a fully student-run club, with more than 15 active student members in TESOL.
The staff learners consist of maintenance and janitorial staff, kitchen and cafeteria personnel, support staff administrators, and school security guards, who wish to improve their English-language skills to participate more fully in the life of the school.
Learners were assessed and then split up into groups; with levels for beginner, intermediate, and advanced groups. Students meet weekly to plan the lessons thoroughly in advance, so when each class begins it runs smoothly. Currently, the lessons are based on general oral communication skills and vocabulary designed to facilitate basic conversations with English-speaking members of the ISB community. Classes take place in a relaxed and fun atmosphere and provide an opportunity to bring ISB community members closer together. Through TESOL, students and staff have had the opportunity to get to know each other better.
TESOL not only benefits the staff but also benefits the student club members. As a service-oriented activity, TESOL allows students to give-back: sharing the benefits of their language education with others. Studies show that students who participate in community service work perform better academically. The students are developing self-confidence through learning that the service they give makes a real impact in the world and on the lives of others. The club also allows students to develop real-world skills to help them succeed in high school and beyond. They practice leadership, problem-solving, teaching, communication, collaboration, time-management, and teamwork skills in their work with TESOL. A further advantage is that students can put their teaching hours toward a TESOL certification, which is a recognized professional teaching qualification around the world.
Although TESOL is a newly formed club, its future is very bright at ISB.