One-on-one tutoring is the heart and soul of English In Action. Adults who want to improve their English skills are matched with volunteer tutors. The pairs meet for approximately an hour a week. While the initial commitment is for six months, we have pairs who have been together for more than 10 years. Learning English is the starting point for these tutoring relationships, but many of our pairs develop strong friendships. Tutoring is not only an opportunity to learn about language, it is also an opportunity for both the tutor and the student to learn about each other’s culture. English In Action’s staff support our tutoring pairs in having a successful experience and provide resources and materials for learning English.
Open Hours was created to give students on our waiting list a way start learning English right away. It is the brainchild of a group of English In Action’s advanced students who wanted to find a way to give back to the community and to help others in their quest to learn English. Open Hours is a casual drop-in class, offered every Thursday from 6 to 7:30 p.m. at English In Action’s office in El Jebel. Students and tutors form small groups and practice their English by having conversations, reading from books and newspapers, asking questions and playing games. Volunteer tutors in this program include both advanced students and native English speakers.
Small Group Tutoring
Small Group Tutoring, launched in 2015, offers students the opportunity to learn practical English skills in a small group setting. Volunteer tutors meet with groups of 3-9 students for 10 week sessions. Classes take place weekly for 1.5 hours and are typically located in El Jebel, though we sometimes form groups in other locations. We use the Confidence & Connections curriculum developed by Boulder-based, Intercambio: Uniting Communities. Lessons help to develop useful language for real world situations and focus on oral skills, as well as reading and writing.
Community Engagement Activities
English In Action believes that once students have learned more English, it is also important to help them find ways to use that English and to engage more fully with the community. Students and tutors in our programs are regularly offered opportunities to do a variety of activities, including snowshoeing on Aspen Mountain, attending Theatre Aspen performances and visiting the Aspen Art Museum. Each year we also hold a picnic for our students and tutors and a community fundraiser called the Fiesta de Tamales, which brings together community members from a wide variety of backgrounds in an authentic celebration of culture. Students and tutors also participate in volunteer activities in the community, civic events and activities intended to create greater cross-cultural understanding.