Tutor Orientation Workshop


Personal stories from the organizations.  Kevin Brooks’ personal account of Giving + Learning.

Your story: name and what brought you here, what you hope to get out of this experience. Please use the online volunteer in-take form if you have not done so already. “Like” our organizations on Facebook; use other volunteers as resources–build community!

The refugee story.  Who is a refugee, and how do refugees come to Fargo?

Questions at this point?

Four Qualities of a Good Tutor.

  1. Develop cultural awareness. Increase your understanding of the refugee experience. You are an equal partner in learning. Another fabulous resource: Faces of Refugee resettlement: A video and website.
  2. Be a reflective practitioner. Evaluate what’s working well, work with your learner(s) to meet their needs, communicate with us so we can provide support.
  3. Trust your ability to teach.  Teach English by reading, writing, and speaking English; teach Driver’s Literacy by working through the manual together; teach Citizenship test prep by using the available materials.
  4. Break the learning down into manageable chunks. Go slow, review, repeat.

Activity:four roles?

Roles you are or could be playing as a “tutor.”
1. Observer and listener.  It is very important to listen carefully to your partners, try to understand them as fully as possible, and politely ask them to repeat when necessary.
2. Feedback provider. You are working with your partner to provide supportive feedback; if they struggle and get words or homework answers wrong, just keep giving them positive feedback.
3. Mentor and guide. A mentor or guide doesn’t fix someone’s problems, but tries to give good, wise advice about how to go about a task in school or life. For learners with limited schooling experience, they might need mentoring in how to be good students.
4. Learner. Remember that you are giving and learning.  Be respectful of the talents and wisdom the learners bring to each session, go into each session expecting to learn from your partner.

Activity: learning Arabic, II.


The Global Friends Coalition in Grand Forks has a great orientation guide that, among other things, encourages volunteers to be aware of:

  1. Culture shock. Your partner(s) might be excited about learning one week, overwhelmed by everything new in their lives the next week. Hang in there with them!
  2. Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. Few of us are trained to diagnosis this, but if your partner is consistently down, canceling sessions, and/or you see signs of depression, consider a) asking your partner if she or he needs help, b) notifying the organization you are volunteering with, and/or c) contacting the case manager for your partner. PTSD is more likely to manifest in someone who has been resettled for a while, rather than a newly resettled New American.
  3. Your privilege and social position. Your partner may look to you for more guidance that you were expecting, or you might be inclined to suggest activities that are beyond your partner’s financial ability or comfort zone.  Recognize the privilege and social positioning that comes from being in your home country, perhaps being a member of the dominant racial group, being fully employed, etc..

Three ELL and mentoring opportunities.

  • Start with the organization that most closely matches your interests and schedule.
  • Try out other organizations and experiences as time and interest permits.
  • Provide us all with feedback.
  • Share your experience with others.

 Wrap up

  • Tour the library (when applicable); learn about available resources.
  • Tour the website.
  • Take a group photo to document our work.
  • Talk to organization representatives about finding the right program and time.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: