As you may remember, last month we asked if you were interested in volunteering to teach English here in Puerto Armuelles.
Happily, we received several responses.
Our First Student
In fact, soon after our announcement our very first student began receiving one-on-one English conversation practice.
He appears to be advancing in his English speaking and listening proficiency at a very rapid rate. This student is highly motivated and also spends several hours each day listening to podcasts in English, as part of his self-created “English Immersion” program.
Very Early Days of Program
Obviously, we are still in the formulation phase of our project. We have no fixed structure in place. While we are still uncertain about the details, we are certain that there is a need for such a program. The best way to learn English is by being exposed to native English speakers.
Your Help is Needed
If you are interested in participating in any way, please contact us.
Perhaps you have skills that could be useful to the program, even beyond simply tutoring in English. We are especially interested in talking with someone who is skillful in coordinating communication among the students and volunteers in the program. We are looking for volunteers to:
- Organize the volunteers
- Inform eager-to-learn-English students about the program
- Develop a system to match up volunteers and students (maybe we could create a Facebook Group or even a Google Chart).
- Create an English-Spanish Exchange (intercambio) component
I am positive that I am not capable of all of the emails, texts, etc…that may be required, as the program gains momentum. However, I am available to participate in developing the process and introduce new tutors and students to the program. As the program grows, as I am sure it will, I may even be able to provide a physical space in Puerto Armuelles for holding classes, or one-on-one tutoring sessions.
Over the next year or so, it would be wonderful if we could offer English conversation opportunities to a 1 – 2 dozen motivated young people in Puerto Armuelles.
Hopefully, this program will help increase the English language proficiency in Puerto Armuelles. Fluency in English will certainly give these young people access to many opportunities in fast-developing Panama.
In recent months, we have talked with more expats who have plans to move to Panama, and Puerto Armuelles. Some of them already have a desire to help the young people of Puerto Armuelles. Many have also said they’d be interested in volunteering in the English tutoring program. Added to the longer-term expats in the area, we should be seeing a growing pool of potential volunteers.
Tutoring a young person from Puerto Armuelles in English is a great way to get involved in the community, in positive way, without making too big a commitment.
Not a Permanent Commitment
If you want want to volunteer, but don’t want to commit, that is perfectly fine. You can assess as you go along. You can see if you would like to increase your participation, or back out if you discover you don’t enjoy it. No worries or judgements. But for some expats, retiree or otherwise, this could be just the sort of adventure that they have been looking for.
An Exchange Program
We have also gotten requests for Spanish language lessons from local expats, particularly from retirees. For this reason, the idea of a “language exchange” program has emerged.
An exchange, or “intercambio” is a great way for an expat to share their own English language skills with a local youth. In exchange, the youth would help you to learn Spanish. This kind of program has been successful in many places. There is no reason that it couldn’t work for us here in Puerto Armuelles.
Please let us know if you are interested in participating in an intercambio.
Please let us know if you are interested or have any comments or suggestions.