Something that is important to point out about Beyond the English Divide is that we try to help all the underprivileged children we can reach. What this means is that, in each of the centers where we volunteer:
- We have children with very different levels of proficiency (from beginners to low-to-mid intermediate learners).
- Some of the children may be facing challenges other than poverty (e.g., learning disabilities, abandonment issues, etc.), some of which we are not fully aware of.
In order to face these challenges, we have decided to follow a “non-traditional” approach to teaching them English, in which we value “bonding” with the kids as much as completing all the activities for the day.
In Beyond the English Divide, we are working towards creating our own curriculum. In each volunteering session, we include both worksheets and games (see below) that helps us motivate the kids. We always focus on one specific topic (e.g., “Thanksgiving” for November) and we target both vocabulary and grammar.
Even though this is still work in progress (thanks to the enormous effort made by our Education Team), we use these handouts and activities as a way to interact with and teach the children. Nobody gets into trouble if his/her kids cannot finish all the activities!
In Beyond the English Divide, we include a lot of ice-breaker games. These games make sure students are physically relaxed, they gain motivation, they bond together (and with us), and they are more willing to participate in the learning process (all these benefits have been attested through research).
Click here if you want to see how much fun children have when playing these games (in this specific example, Pictionary).
Here you can find a list of games we have used in the different volunteering sessions (this is work in progress; if you have recommendations on new activities or ways to improve the ones we already listed, feel free to contact us).