Project Literacy - Image from projectliteracykelowna.org
Project Literacy - Image from projectliteracykelowna.org

I found out about Project Literacy Kelowna on Expo Day in September when social organizations ranging from clubs to communities were recruiting members. Inspired by the opportunity to do social good, I applied for a position as an English tutor.

By now I have been volunteering for around four months and feel delighted to share my experience. Initially, I was supposed to help UBCO international students with grammar and writing. However, it soon became evident that we had to work on pronunciation as well.

Being an international student myself, I felt significantly challenged. The student and I discovered International Phonetic Alphabet, a program that encodes a variety of sounds and we proceeded with listening to soundtracks and imitating them. I encourage every student who aspires to major in Linguistics to volunteer as a tutor of pronunciation.

I found it extremely beneficial to improve even my own grammar by explaining it to someone else. At the start of my tutorship, I was worried that I would not have enough resources to offer. The only reliable book I could think of was Murphy’s Basic Grammar in Use. Luckily, the Education Coordinator equipped me with plenty of resources. I am grateful to Project Literacy Kelowna for allowing me to gain experience in tutoring, while simultaneously providing me with all necessary assistance.

Photo by Andrea Marie Tan
Photo by Andrea Marie Tan

The position of tutor requires time and commitment outside of the weekly scheduled lessons since I have to . Personally, I find it useful too because it makes me think about such elements of language as sentence structures, use of articles, and punctuation, that I often do not pay much attention to.

Overall, my experience of being a tutor does not only give me the pleasure of helping others, but also improves my own command of the language. Since my student and I are moving towards a common goal, lessons remain engaging for both of us.