Community-Based English Literacy Tutoring and Cultural Mentoring
School and Tutors on Wheels (TEACH) works toward systemic change in society by empowering English language learners to make their voices heard through a unique integration of practical one-on-one English literacy education, and individualized cultural mentoring and coaching, as well as citizenship test preparation.
The literacy goal of TEACH is to increase English proficiency, but the ultimate objective is to teach students the practical English skills needed to become self-reliant, active members of their community. To make the lasting impact the mission envisions, TEACH’s approach goes beyond traditional curriculum-based ESL programs:
- Philosophy of cultural mentoring as English literacy tutoring: TEACH’s unique integration of practical one-on-one English literacy education and individualized cultural mentoring and coaching guides students through the challenges of navigating systems and overcoming real-life situations for which limited English proficiency is an almost insurmountable barrier. This approach bridges cultures and supports the learner’s transition into the larger community.
- Building long-term relationships and student/tutor retention: Distinct from other tutoring organizations that have time limits and are focused primarily on academic progress, TEACH encourages tutors and students to build long-term relationships, recognizing that strong bonds are crucial for nurturing integration into a culture and community.
- Responsive to the challenges of immigrants living in the suburbs: In the suburbs, immigrants may be isolated due to the lack of tight-knit communities close by. Without English, they cannot communicate with neighbors, teachers, doctors, or civil servants. Community-based sites facilitate engagement of isolated immigrants, and the emphasis on long-term relationship building creates support networks. Tutoring is held in child- friendly environments such as libraries, churches and recreation centers.
- Coordinated tutoring model: To provide on-site support and resources to tutors and students, volunteer coordinators are on-site for the entire session. Program staff rotate between sites throughout the year.