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English Teaching Volunteer Work Abroad in Sri Lanka

Teaching in Sri Lanka, Teaching

For schools in the south-west of Sri Lanka, the increasing popularity of the country as a tourist destination over the last decade or so, combined with its economic progress, has made the teaching of the English language a priority. When the tsunami hit in 2004 it was feared that this would be a major setback, but thanks to help from the international community and the unbreakable spirit of the people of this beautiful country, Sri Lanka has come through the troubles and English-speaking volunteers are very much in demand.

Sri Lanka's schools require volunteers to develop their students' conversational English abilities. You can help without any previous teaching experience and we do not ask you to do a TEFL course. You can volunteer with Projects Abroad during your gap year, career break or extended holiday, and you can be sure of having an important role to play, working alongside students and colleagues who value the time that you give to them.

Teach English Language in schools with Projects Abroad

Teaching in Sri Lanka, Teaching Volunteer

We work in schools outside Sri Lanka's capital, Colombo, with schools located in small towns along the western coast and schools in and around the hill town of Kandy. We can place you in a coastal village school or at a school in the hills for the children of tea planters. Some of the schools are close to the beach; some are even based in temples!

Students are generally aged from 10 to 14 years old and the majority speak Sinhalese as their first language. They will often be able to speak some English but your focus will be to develop their confidence and fluency. If a student is able to understand and speak confidently to their English teacher it is a real step forward, and your continued presence will also increase the local teacher's confidence in their own language abilities.

The Sri Lankan school day runs from 8am - 2pm, and is broken down into eight separate 40-minute periods, with a twenty-minute break for an early lunch at around 11am. Those who volunteer in Sri Lanka as teachers are expected to teach for about 18 hours per week, so most volunteers teach around four periods per day, and spend the rest of the time marking and preparing for the next day's lessons. Many volunteers also choose to spend some of their time working in a local orphanage or in some areas, tsunami relief camps, helping with homework and organising games and sporting activities. The camps welcome volunteers to help from 3pm to 5pm each afternoon, after the end of the school day.

As a volunteer teaching in Sri Lanka, you are needed to encourage the children to practise their pronunciation and to get them regularly speaking and using the English language. Their English lessons will often have given them a good grounding in the basics of the language - the grammar and the vocabulary - so you may find that they make progress very rapidly. You will see the delight on their faces as they start to communicate more easily with you and this provides an immense satisfaction in the work you are doing.

You can read more detailed information about the aims of the project in our Sri Lanka Teaching Management Plan.

Volunteering on a Teaching Project in Sri Lanka

If you have skills in other areas please let us know. Many schools are keen for volunteers to help with extra-curricular activities, and you might be able to teach how to play the guitar or train the school football team. By providing more than just English teaching, you will become a great asset to the schools, who will use their limited resources to support you in any new directions you wish to take.

If our local staff can help you with anything then please let us know; we are always happy to help our partner organisations. Who knows - you may find yourself setting up a drama club for a group of eager students or helping older students with their maths studies. The more you can tell us about yourself when you apply, and in further conversations with our Sri Lankan staff, the better we can find the right placement for you.

Whatever skills and talents you have, volunteer work in Sri Lanka will give you the opportunity to put them to good use. Ensure you prepare your classes thoroughly and be imaginative with your teaching to make learning fun and enjoyable for the students.

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