About English in Action
Building community through language and leadership development.
We began in 1994 as a project of the Basalt Regional library. The program was the brain child of a rather visionary library board who understood the importance of serving all library patrons, regardless of ability to speak English. To that end, they launched a small program which placed volunteer tutors one-on-one with new immigrants who wanted to learn English. The popular and successful program (then called the "Adult Literacy Program") grew steadily. And after 11 years, the program simply outgrew its space within the library.
Our Teaching Model
One-On-One - All of our teaching is provided one-on-one by volunteer tutors. We believe this model to be the most beneficial, both for our learners, and for our community as a whole. This model allows us to custom-create a unique course of study for each learner, taking into consideration English language level; native language literacy; personal goals; and learning styles. An added bonus of this model is that it fosters strong working relationships between members of different parts of our community. The one-on-one relationships built between learners and their tutors are precious and function to strengthen the community as a whole.
Action-Oriented - We encourage our learners to take the skills they learn in class and put them into action - for example, taking the bus, opening a bank account, helping their child with homework, attending a parent-teacher conference at their child's school, enrolling in a community college class, taking a first-time home-buyer's workshop, and much, much more.Our advanced learners are encouraged to join our Leadership Corps. LC members volunteer their time in one of the valley's many worthy nonprofit organizations. In this way they get to practice their English while contributing their unique skills to making this valley an even better place to live!
Our Volunteer Tutors
ALL of our teaching is provided by volunteers tutors! Our volunteer tutors come from all walks of life. They need no previous teaching or foreign language experience - just the desire to make a significant difference in another person's life. We believe that each tutor has something unique to offer. And it is our job to match tutor assets with learner needs. We supplement tutor strengths with training, as well as a high level of ongoing support. Our program would not be possible without the time, energy and caring given by our fabulous team of volunteer tutors! We are truly a volunteer-powered organization.
To learn more about becoming an English In Action volunteer tutor, click here
Our Adult Learners
Our adult learners hail from around the world. So far we have worked with adults from over twenty different countries - Mexico, Peru, Morocco, Russia, China, Indonesia, to name a few. That said, the majority of our learners come from Spanish-speaking countries. They are all hard-working adults looking to improve their ability to function effectively in the Roaring Fork valley community.
While some of our learners were well-educated in their countries of origin, others lack even basic literacy skills in their native language. Imagine trying to learn English without even the foundation of literacy in your first language!
While our learners come to us with a variety of goals, 75% are parents. And the most common goal among new learners is to provide more academic support at home for their school-aged children. Most learners are also eager to improve their work-related language skills. And all are eager to integrate more fully into the community.
To learn more about becoming an English In Action learner, click here
We are extremely proud our adult learners. It is inspiring to witness their commitment, perseverence, and, of course, their successes.
When "Mario" joined the program one year ago, he found it difficult to communicate effectively on the construction job site where he works. Now, not only is he communicating successfully with his boss, he is actually acting as the job site translator, helping to create a safer and less frustrating work environment for his co-workers.
When "Aurora" joined the program, she and her two-year-old son had very little contact with others, especially native English speakers. After several months in the program, she gained the English language skills and confidence to get a job working in a pre-school. Now she and her son go to school every day where they have lots of contact with other adults and children.
After many years in the program, "Eugenia" decided that she wanted to "give back" to the community. Now she volunteers her time with the Komen Foundation, helping them to reach Latina women with important information about breast cancer prevention.
In February of 2008, English In Action commissioned a "key informant" survey, which solicited in-depth feedback from a broad range of stakeholders about our services and the existing community need that they address. This input is being used by the organization's board and staff to improve existing programming, as well as strategize new programming, to better meet the needs of our community.
In summary, the survey shows strong community support for the work we do. 98% of the respondents said that a language barrier does, in fact, exist. And 89% said that EIA's signature Individualized Tutoring Program is a very effective way of addressing the problem. It is highly encouraging to get this kind of community "seal of approval"!
We Welcome Your Input
We welcome your input about English In Action. Please click here if you would like to submit your thoughts about the work we do.