Approximately 2000 English language assistants go abroad every year under a programme administered by British Council. They are usually either undergraduates required to spend the third year of their language degree course abroad or recent graduates in languages or other disciplines. They spend an academic year teaching in a school, working either with the class teacher or on their own with smaller groups. Exact duties vary from post to post, but their main role is to develop their students' confidence and competence in understanding and speaking English. Assistants are placed in secondary schools in 18 countries including Austria, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Switzerland, China and several in Latin America, with some also working at primary school level.
The majority of language assistants have had very little formal or informal pedagogic experience. The language assistant project aims to provide pedagogic support for British Council-administered language assistants and to respond to their developing needs throughout their teaching year.
There are three components to the project:
- the Language Assistant resource manual written by Clare Lavery. This is based on the experiences of recent language assistants; it is available from this web site in downloadable format;
- an e-mail discussion group and Language Assistants Facebook page to discuss teaching ideas with Sally Trowbridge from British Council Barcelona, Sam Deans from British Council Paris and each other (this is open only to British Council language assistants);
- the Language Assistant web site, which provides additional tips, materials on contemporary UK, primary level teaching tips, language games and links to other sites.
The LanguageAssistant web site
The materials and resources on this web site have been developed for British Council language assistants. However we recognise that they may also be useful for others who are helping to teach English or who have recently started teaching, and for teacher developers. We have therefore have made them freely available through the Teaching English website as part of the Council's role in supporting English language teaching.
The copyright in the Language Assistant resource manual and the Language Assistant web site is held by British Council. Where material has been provided by other organisations, copyright ownership is indicated on the relevant pages. You may print out materials and photocopy them for use them with a class. Materials on this site cannot be redistributed or used for commercial purposes. If you wish to link to the Language Assistant web site, please contact us.
Email discussion list
The Language Assistant email discussion list is available only to British Council language assistants. We reserve the right to refuse subscription to and to unsubscribe those we believe are not part of this group.
This site does not contain advertising. Language Assistant does however promote English language courses, publications and educational services offered by British Council and by educational bodies and publishers from the United Kingdom.
The content on this site has been written by teachers and educationalists
Teaching tips, Essential UK from 08/2004 & Games: Jo Budden from British Council YL Centre, Barcelona
Primary tips: Jo Bertrand from British Council YL Centre Paris
Teaching tips and Essential UK before 08/2004: Clare Lavery
Rob Lewis, Teacher Website Consultant, British Council, Warsaw