_English Volunteers

English Volunteers

Spirit’s English Program relies on native English volunteer speakers – one hour most weeks.

The cost free to you by using Skype. PLEASE NOTE, YOU MUST HAVE BASIC COMPUTER SKILLS. Communication requires being able to cut and paste a web address in your browser. This is fairly simple and we would be glad to help you.

The girls are working hard for an English speaking job in call centers in Guatemala City. They will double to quadruple their income potential. To do this, they need correct American English pronunciation and lots of practice listening to, and speaking English.

English volunteers work with one girl to help her gain basic conversational skills, good pronunciation and fluidity. While volunteers have other obligations in their lives, we ask for one hour most weeks. A little Spanish is helpful for the first few months, but NOT necessary. We can match you with an advanced student who doesn’t need that initial help any longer.

Our English Angels are very important people to these girls. The girls get a little frantic when a power outage prevents their time with you. They so want to please you and learn from you.

Your gift if time has the following benefits:

Correct pronunciation, not available by any teacher in the region.
Give your girl encouragement and the tools to make a better life.
Show her she has value by your commitment to her.
Know you are an important person in her life.

Resources available for your use:

Summaries of our resources available.
Transcripts of books they will be using in each level.
Lesson plans – suggestions.
For more information email info1@spiriteduc.org.

Big Changes for Success!

During their classes, the girls have the following issues:

  1. Although their pronunciation is generally excellent, be sure to correct any noted mispronunciations.
  2. They are having problems with verb tenses, especially past tense.
  3. Pronoun use is another weak area for them.
  4. There are still sentence structure problems where they put the order backwards, etc. So if your girl is having these problems, stop her and ask her to think about her sentence. Please do not tell her the correct form until she tries.
  5. They need practice in reading or hearing a passage and then responding to questions. In part, this is a result of their educational system where they are taught to listen, copy and return what the teacher said without thinking or interpreting. Professional work and call center work is about understanding, interpreting and solving problems in one form or another.

The curriculum has changed to include a new series of instructional books designed to have more thinking topics with grammar and discussion exercises.


  1. Determine that your girl has done her homework to prepare for your time together.
  2. Help her with difficult pronunciation for the FEW words she is still having trouble with, both related to the listening recordings and generally. Consider the word stress syllables.
  3. For a few words presented by her – help refine word meaning and use.
  4. Develop critical thinking and problem solving; for example – what factors go in to job choice.
  5. Demand complete thought responses (versus yes and no). Require justification or reasons for responses.
  6. Grammar: You can review lesson examples, but make up your examples and have her respond with correct stress and pitch. This could be based on previous conversations you have had.
  7. Practicing showing interest: You can make up your story with gaps for her to show interest.
  8. Use descriptive Adjectives in your conversation.
  9. Make a sentence without any adjectives and ask her to add adjectives for better explanations. For example: The dog is … -> the big black dog is scary.
  10. Read or say 3-4 sentences. Ask her to repeat the sentences as close to word for word as possible. This will be an ongoing exercise to reinforce “recall” ability.


Pimsleur CDs 1, 2, and 3. Includes transcripts of each of the 90 Pimsleur lessons. Note that lessons are often using the same vocabulary with a few additions. Learning by repetitive use of vocabulary in slightly changing scenarios. Suggested use is to adapt the type of conversation to their lives, reinforcing the use of the vocabulary and increasingly the sentence structure and grammar being used.

Tell-Me-More computer program: 1 ½ of the 3 CDs. Included now is the first CD topics. Suggested Use: Include current topics and vocabulary into your weekly conversations to reinforce them.

*Basico Ingles: 2 files: Basico Ingles Coverage and Basico Ingles topical by page summary. If you find your girl is missing some grammar theme, you can look up the page numbers by topic and/or page numbers and assign your girl those pages. Have her read these pages to you the following week, then give an example in her own words, etc. You can give the lesson without having a copy of the book.

L1 reading – stories: These are low reading level stories. You have the transcripts and many of the recordings your girl should have already listened to. Suggested Use: discussion of the stories may include what she learned, do they have similar animals/ experiences, etc, did she think it was interesting and why?

Beginning health book LESSONS: transcript of the various chapters aimed at starting discussions. Suggested Use: discussion and questions she needs to answer – more than Yes/No answers. For example: has the chapter on brushing teeth been important? Why-how?

Read on 2: beginning ESL reading book with a variety of unusual topics. Your girl should have read the story and done the grammar parts. Suggested Use: You can use these stories to introduce reading for information and problem solving.

New beginnings: The second in the ESL books – again discussion, information gathering from reading for problem solving or adapting the information.

Beyond Beginnings:
For Here and to go:
Lesson Suggestions: many of these are for use if you feel unsure about presenting some grammar topic. It is a support for you should you wish to use them. Leslie created many of these examples and has generously shared them with us. Her Wendy has done very well with this extra aid.

Beginner’s English Lesson Plans: This will be a work in progress. This file will be  updated from time to time as I monitor where the girls are and incorporate the new requirement of understanding and analysis. So treat this as a temporary document.

  • Use of this document is to know what your girl is doing this week, so you can create a conversation to include the Pimsleur or TMM vocabulary, reinforce current grammar topics, and discuss the reading they are doing that week, etc.
  • Reinforcing current lessons will help them take the assignments more seriously and help them focus on the grammar of the week, as they realize you will be including that in your lesson, although in whatever manner you choose.


  1. *Basico Ingles: 2 files: Basico Ingles Coverage and Basico Ingles topical by page summary. Suggested Use:  If you find your girl is missing some grammar theme, you can look up the page numbers by topic and/or page numbers and assign your girl those pages. Have her read these pages to you the following week, then give an example in her own words, etc. Or, you can have her use the correct form in the following weeks lesson.
  2. TMM transcripts.
  3. Northstar series Low/beginning.
  4. Northstar Intermediate level.
  5. L2 stories- these are in addition to regular work, more leisure reading.
  6. L2 Suggestions.


  1. NorthStar High Intermediate.
  2. NorthStar Advanced.
  3. American Accent training book and recordings.
  4. Contact US.


Many of the sections should be done by your girl while in their classes or as homework, not using your precious time together. For lessons that have been transcribed, there is color coding. These sections are marked in RED. GREEN are sections you might choose to use as a conversation starter. BLUE topics are generally discussion of analysis and problem solving sections. It would be most helpful if you would participate in these parts. Ask questions or listen to her solutions before giving your opinions, please.

Focus on the Topic

  1. Predicting topic from series of pictures: Promote thinking and analyzing – should be done the week before starting on this lesson.
  2. Sharing Information: Having opinions and problem solving.
  3. Preparing to listen: Using information given.
  4. Vocabulary for comprehension.

Focus on Listening

  1. First listening section:
    • Listen for main ideas.
    • Listening for details and answering questions.
    • Reacting to listening and discussion.
  2. Second listening section:
  3. Focus on Vocabulary- using the new words in sentences.

Focus on Speaking

Pronunciation: stress
Small talk
Grammar: some topic