Training for Volunteer Tutors of Refugees

In collaboration with Pima Community College’s Refugee Education Program, and the University of Arizona’s Second Language Acquisition and Teaching program, Literacy Connects is offering training sessions for volunteers who teach or tutor English with low-literacy adults from refugee backgrounds.

The training offers teaching strategies that help students develop receptive and oral English language skills, as well as emerging reading and writing skills. This training is intended for volunteers or community members who are already volunteering* with a refugee-focused volunteer organization. Our training draws on presenters’ practical experience and relevant research into best practices for teaching low-literacy adults from refugee backgrounds.

Our first training took place over two days on June 23rd and 30th of 2017 and was led by the following presenters:

– Kate Van Roekel, ELAA teacher Education and Training Coordinator, Literacy Connects
– Lissa Fogel, Advanced Program Coordinator, Refugee Education Program, Pima Community College
– Jenna Altherr Flores, Doctoral Candidate, Second Language Acquisition and Teaching, University of Arizona, Chair, Refugee Concerns, TESOL International; Co-Chair, Teachers of Refugees, AZTESOL
– Amanda Snell, Doctoral Student, Second Language Acquisition and Teaching, University of Arizona; Co-Chair, Teachers of Refugees, AZTESOL

Participants came from a variety of community organizations that serve adults from refugee backgrounds, including Literacy Connects, Ishkashita, Tucson Refugee Ministries, Tucson Welcomes Refugees, IRC, Temple Emanu-El, and Lutheran Social Services. The workshop included hands on practice with strategies for developing oral English skills and emerging reading and writing skills. Participants received a “toolkit” of practical tools and strategies to use in their own classes or tutoring sessions.

This special two-day training will be offered again on 9/29/2017 and 10/6 /2017 from 9:30 am – 1:30 pm. Email Kate Van Roekel at for more information.

**Interested people not already volunteering with a refugee-focused volunteer organization can click here for information about how to get connected with refugee-focused organizations.

6 Responses to “Training for Volunteer Tutors of Refugees”

  1. Bonnie Hertzog says:

    I’m new to the area, a retired SpeechLanguage Pathologist, looking for a volunteer opportunity. Would love to have more info and help in this effort.

  2. I would like to come to this. I work with refugees from the IRC and Refugee Focus, and also Arizona Welcomes Refugees and CENTER. The families I’ve helped have asked me for help with learning English, along with all the other ways I’ve helped them. I’ve worked with them with Youtube videos, and materials given my by a friend who has taught ESL for years with mainly Hispanic students but not refugees. They are pieces of help but not a consistent program.

    I came to a Literacy Connects introduction session recently, but couldn’t make the commitment to teach classes twice a week for 8 months. So I didn’t sign up to take the training. But I’d really like some help in working with refugees.

    Not having good English is keeping many refugees from finding better jobs or jobs at all. I would love to have more help in working with refugee families. I’m working with pne Iraqi family and three plus Syrian families. They all want help with English, even the one family which has pretty good English. They all know it is the path to improvement here but all face logistical challenges.

  3. Jo Moody says:

    I have been substitute teaching with Pima Adult Ed for quite a few years,
    Including teaching refugee classes. My certificate is expiring, so I will no longer
    Be doing paid subbing there, but may volunteer in the future. I would like to take this
    Training as a way to expand the strategies I already have for teaching. Hopefully
    My experience and commitment to refugee education will allow me a place at this
    Training without the necessity of being directly linked with a volunteer organization.