Adult Basic Education/English as a Second Language (Kendall Square Learning Project - KSLP)
Volunteers teach classes to adults two nights a week at the Volpe Center. Students have come from such countries as Haiti, China, India, Pakistan, and El Salvador. While learning or improving their English, the students are also encouraged to improve basic skills. The goal is to help integrate the students into American society and enable them to get better jobs.
- We Teach English Here
The winter 2000 issue of the Volpe Journal takes a look at the Volpe Center Volunteers in the Kendall Square Learning Project (KSLP).
What is KSLP?
The Kendall Square Learning Project (KSLP) is a non-profit, charitable organization that provides classes in English as a Second Language (ESL) and basic life skills topics. These classes are provided at no cost to the students and are open to anyone. The KSLP is based in Kendall Square, Cambridge, MA and is accessible by MBTA.
KSLP was formed in 1992 by sheer determination and the notion that anyone can make a difference. Beginning with one person, KSLP quickly grew from a simple idea into a volunteer program that has reached out to over 300 students.
A future vision of KSLP includes Adult Basic Education, teaching literacy and expanded classes in basic life skills.
How does it work?
Time and Place
Classes are held twice a week in the evening at facilities provided by the U.S. Department of Transportation, Volpe Center, located at 55 Broadway, Kendall Square, Cambridge, MA 02142-1093.
Two teachers are assigned to a class so that each teaches only once a week for an hour and a half. Class format is informal and teachers can choose how to structure their lessons. Class preparation time is about an hour a week. Teaching materials and training are provided, and experienced teachers help new ones get started.
ESL classes are open to anyone willing to learn. Four levels of classes are offered, ranging from little or no English skills at Level I to advanced conversation and grammar at Level IV.
Sample Lesson Topics
Newcomers to our country face daily struggles in communicating, finding jobs, looking for a place to live, and learning a new culture. In our ESL lessons, we incorporate the following materials and topics:
- Reading newspapers, magazines, food labels, etc.
- Filling out a job application.
- Interpreting street signs, warnings, maps.
- Calling for help.
- Listening to the news.
- Asking for directions and information.
- Making appointments.
- Going places: library, museum, supermarket, restaurant.
- Paying bills.
- Using a computer.
Anything from our daily life can be a lesson.
How You Can Help?
It's easier than you think. You don't need to speak a foreign language or be an expert grammarian. You do need to be comfortable with grammar and to have a desire to help people. Teaching materials and training are provided, and experienced teachers will help you get started.
KSLP can always use administrative support. Besides teachers, our volunteers include a student coordinator, teacher coordinator, treasurer, Volpe Center liaison, and librarian.
KSLP is a 501(c)(3) charitable organization. Your tax-deductible contribution would go toward buying materials for the students and classes. Minimal funds are used for necessary operating expenses, such as mailings and program support. Work at KSLP is strictly voluntary; no one receives payment for time or effort.
KSLP needs other forms of support, such as substitute teachers, one-time classes on special topics, donations of materials, help with specific events, or any help you can offer. You can volunteer for the following activities:
- Teach English as a Second Language (ESL) once a week.
- Substitute teach English as a Second Language (ESL) as needed.
- Provide a one-time presentation about your area of expertise or interest.
- Teach general computer skills or how to surf the Internet.
- Develop a Kendall Square Learning Project web site.
- Organize a field trip to a museum, business, public library, or historic site.
- Help create an annual newsletter highlighting recent activities, teachers/volunteers, and general project information.
- Organize the Kendall Square Learning Project's business files.
- Help organize a Kendall Square Learning Project operations handbook.
- Develop promotional materials like our project brochure and events flyers.
- Create a Kendall Square Learning Project Bulletin board.
- Provide financial support for books and teaching materials.
Volunteers & Students
Our volunteers come from all walks of life and a variety of occupations.
Our students are primarily working adults, who live in the Cambridge and Boston areas and come from all over the world.
For more information, contact:
Kendall Square Learning Project
P.O. Box 425876
Cambridge, MA 02142-1093