It's very important to train your team!
If you are planning to build your Alpha for ESOL team, here are some guidelines:
Host, helper and speaker qualities
All hosts, helpers and speakers on an Alpha for ESOL course should have the following qualities:
- Been a host/helper on the Alpha course previously
- Done Alpha training
- Culturally sensitive
- A passion for the gospel reaching other cultures
- Experience in interacting with and speaking to non-native English speakers and people from other cultures
- And most importantly, lots of patience!
Small group dynamics
Small Group dynamics are even more important on Alpha for ESOL than on the Alpha course. Work hard to create a safe environment.
Ensure that you discourage the following dynamics and beliefs:
- Student-teacher atmosphere
- Guests not talking unless they are called
- Guests feeling like they are under pressure to have the "correct" answer
- Guests feeling uncomfortable sharing opinions or what they are thinking
- Guests believing it is not socially acceptable to disagree with the speaker or small group host
It is essential that you try to do everything you can to emphasise a peer to peer atmosphere.
Key differences from an Alpha course small group
Please allow for the following differences in an Alpha for ESOL small group:
- Guests may be translating in their heads and need a slower paced discussion
- Guests may need more time to formulate their responses during discussion
- Cultural and cross-cultural specific issues
We would suggest that you try smaller groups.