Volunteer Foundations Training

Volunteer Foundations Training

Minnesota schools want learners to receive the the instruction they need. Volunteer training makes this possible!

Training helps to ensure that volunteers who work in all instructional areas can effectively support learners in reaching their educational goals, whether they are studying English, working towards their GED, or preparing for a citizenship test. Literacy Minnesota believes that all volunteers should receive the training and support that they need in order to feel comfortable and to provide effective service to learners.

Smiling teacher standing near whiteboard

Adult Education Foundations Trainings

Volunteers who work with adult learners are required by the Minnesota Department of Education to receive either Foundations of Adult Education Tutoring (12 hours) or Foundations of Volunteering in the Adult Education Classroom (4 hours), depending on their role. 

Check out the training requirements for various adult education volunteer roles in the Volunteer Training Requirements by Role

Both the 12-hour and the 4-hour training consist of two components: Core Training Modules, which are required for all volunteers, and Targeted Training Modules, which volunteers select depending on the level of learner/s that they are working with, the specific skill that is being taught, or if they are delivering remote instruction. 

Check out the tabs below for descriptions of the Volunteer Foundations Training options.

FOUNDATIONS OF ADULT EDUCATION TUTORING (12 HOURS)

The 12-hour volunteer training prepares volunteers who will be teaching independently of a professional teacher (either a class or one-on-one). This foundational training will provide an overview of adult basic education in Minnesota, introduce culture and adult learning principles, and equip tutors with instructional best practices. Volunteers select additional targeted training modules based on their specific tutoring situation.

  • Volunteers who require the 12-hour Foundations of Adult Education Tutoring must take the four Core Training Modules.
  • Volunteers who require the 12-hour Foundations of Adult Education Tutoring must take two Targeted Training Modules.

See the menu below for Core Training Modules 1-4 descriptions and recommendations for Targeted Training Modules based on level and skill taught.

FOUNDATIONS OF VOLUNTEERING IN THE ADULT EDUCATION CLASSROOM (4 HOURS)

The 4-hour volunteer training prepares volunteers who will be working with a professional teacher as in-person or remote classroom assistants, or by providing supplemental instruction to existing classes through additional practice. This foundational training will introduce cultural awareness and adult learning principles. Volunteers select an additional targeted training module based on their specific tutoring situation.

  • Volunteers who require the 4-hour Foundations of Volunteering in the Adult Education Classroom must take Core Training Module 2.
  • Volunteers who require the 4-hour Foundations of Volunteering in the Adult Education Classroom must take One Targeted Training Module

See the menu below for the Core Training Module 2 description and recommendations for Targeted Training Modules based on level and skill taught.

ACCESSING TRAINING MODULES

Each core and targeted module is two hours in length. Volunteers can take the modules in three ways:

  • Participating in live webinars  (find upcoming webinars here)
  • Viewing video recordings and completing and submitting a Module Reflection form (find recording options here)
  • Attending in-person trainings (this option will be available in 2022)

See the menu below for module descriptions and recommendations for Targeted Training Modules based on level and skill taught.

Core Training Module Descriptions

  • Core Training Module 1: Overview of Minnesota Adult Education and ABE Accountability
    Participants learn about 
    Adult Basic Education programming in Minnesota, demographics of learners, instructional content standards, initial and on-going assessment and other accountability measures. 
  • Core Training Module 2: Understanding Adult Learners 
    Participants develop their personal cultural awareness and learn how expectations around school culture shape how people teach and learn. Motivations and barriers to learning are also covered, as well as guiding principles for effective delivering instruction to adults. Participants also increase their sensitivity to the challenges of learning English/developing literacy as an adult.
  • Core Training Module 3: Instructional Best Practices: Working with  Learners                                                                    Participants learn how to apply teaching practices that support language and skill development for all learners. These practices include checking comprehension of all learners, using an appropriate level of teacher talk, delivering error correction and feedback, facilitating learner questions, and ensuring that instruction is learner centered.
  • Core Training Module 4: Instructional Best Practices: Working with Materials                                                          Participants learn about the types of materials that they may be working with, including prepared texts and realia. Participants also learn about the practice of explicit instruction, how to effectively give instructions, and suggestions for extending worksheets to maximize understanding and practice. 

Targeted Training Module Descriptions

  • Teaching Phonics to Adult English Learners: Phonics is a crucial part of becoming a reader, yet many adult ESL learners lack sufficient decoding skills to be able to sound out and recognize new words, and don’t get adequate phonics instruction in their beginning level classes. Learn phonics activities to help learners with blending, segmenting, and developing phonemic awareness skills. Participants will leave with multiple activities and suggestions for making phonics relevant and engaging to learners.
  • One Step at a Time: Tutoring Practices for Literacy Level Learners: Learners with limited English and literacy skills have unique needs for in-person and remote instruction. Learn creative approaches that tutors are taking to support literacy level learners as they start on their literacy journey. Participants will learn best practices, try out alphabetics and vocabulary building exercises, and hear success stories from tutors that are making it work!
  • Please Say That Again: Pronunciation Instruction for Adult ESL Learners: English pronunciation is a challenge, but important to teach! In this training, learn about three different pronunciation features that can be taught and practiced during virtual and in-person instruction. Participants will learn how the three features impact speakers’ intelligibility, and explore activities designed to help learners practice using these features in their daily speech. 
  • Developing Fluency and Vocabulary for Beginning English Speakers: Beginning level language learners are expected to master a great deal of vocabulary right from the start. Discover methods for teaching vocabulary to beginning level English learners, and recommendations for making it stick. Participants will also explore ways to build speaking fluency and confidence, and will leave with concrete activity ideas that can be used in one-on-one or small group instruction.
  • I Hear You! Effective Listening Instruction for English Language Learners: Learn how explicit listening instruction builds a foundation for literacy skills and fosters independence for language learners. This workshop will identify authentic learning tasks that English learners encounter daily, try out a variety of listening activities across multiple levels, and discuss which explicit listening strategies are used for each one. Participants will leave with ideas for listening tasks that can be used in remote or in-person instruction.
  • Approaches and Activities to Support Writing Development: Incorporating writing instruction for English language learners of all levels is a challenge for many teachers and tutors. In this training, participants will learn approaches for including writing practice throughout the lesson and activities for extended practice. Participants will also develop strategies for delivering feedback for writing during and in-between lessons.
  • Please Say That Again: Pronunciation Instruction for Adult ESL Learners: English pronunciation is a challenge, but important to teach! In this training, learn about three different pronunciation features that can be taught and practiced during virtual and in-person instruction. Participants will learn how the three features impact speakers’ intelligibility, and explore activities designed to help learners practice using these features in their daily speech. 
  • I Hear You! Effective Listening Instruction for English Language Learners: Learn how explicit listening instruction builds a foundation for literacy skills and fosters independence for language learners. This workshop will identify authentic learning tasks that English learners encounter daily, try out a variety of listening activities across multiple levels, and discuss which explicit listening strategies are used for each one. Participants will leave with ideas for listening tasks that can be used in remote or in-person instruction.
  • Developing and Practicing Reading Fluency: Come and review the important role of fluency in reading instruction. Discuss the three key components of reading fluency and look at a variety of activities tutors and teachers can try. Talk about the mechanics of doing fluency practice via  remote tutoring tools or in-person. Participants will have plenty of opportunity to ask questions and share resources. This workshop will be most useful for instructors working with low-intermediate to advanced readers.
  • Teaching Reading Vocabulary Remotely or In Person: Vocabulary is everyone’s favorite reading component! And helping students master reading vocabulary is a key to helping them master comprehension. But how many words should be taught? And which words are the most important? What strategies are best for helping students learn new words? How to get students to make new words part of their receptive and productive vocabularies? This training will focus on the theory and best practice behind choosing, teaching and reviewing reading vocabulary. Participants will have a chance to learn about (and practice) a variety of activities that can be done remotely or in person. Links to great online resources will also be provided. This workshop will be most useful for instructors working with low-intermediate to advanced readers.
  • Comprehension Strategies for Intermediate Level Readers: Research shows that explicitly teaching a set of comprehension strategies is a great way to help intermediate-level readers maximize their understanding of texts. Come learn a handful of great comprehension tools that will help students develop critical thinking skills and comprehension skills.
  • Approaches and Activities to Support Writing Development: Incorporating writing instruction for English language learners of all levels is a challenge for many teachers and tutors. In this training, participants will learn approaches for including writing practice throughout the lesson and activities for extended practice. Participants will also develop strategies for delivering feedback for writing during and in-between lessons.
  • Please Say That Again: Pronunciation Instruction for Adult ESL Learners: English pronunciation is a challenge, but important to teach! In this training, learn about three different pronunciation features that can be taught and practiced during virtual and in-person instruction. Participants will learn how the three features impact speakers’ intelligibility, and explore activities designed to help learners practice using these features in their daily speech. 
  • Developing and Practicing Reading Fluency: Come and review the important role of fluency in reading instruction. Discuss the three key components of reading fluency and look at a variety of activities tutors and teachers can try. Talk about the mechanics of doing fluency practice via  remote tutoring tools or in-person. Participants will have plenty of opportunity to ask questions and share resources. This workshop will be most useful for instructors working with low-intermediate to advanced readers.
  • Teaching Reading Vocabulary Remotely or In Person: Vocabulary is everyone’s favorite reading component! And helping students master reading vocabulary is a key to helping them master comprehension. But how many words should be taught? And which words are the most important? What strategies are best for helping students learn new words? How to get students to make new words part of their receptive and productive vocabularies? This training will focus on the theory and best practice behind choosing, teaching and reviewing reading vocabulary. Participants will have a chance to learn about (and practice) a variety of activities that can be done remotely or in person. Links to great online resources will also be provided. This workshop will be most useful for instructors working with low-intermediate to advanced readers.
  • Comprehension Strategies for Intermediate Level Readers: Research shows that explicitly teaching a set of comprehension strategies is a great way to help intermediate-level readers maximize their understanding of texts. Come learn a handful of great comprehension tools that will help students develop critical thinking skills and comprehension skills.
  • Teaching Citizenship Remotely:  Jessica Horning, citizenship teacher for the Literacy Minnesota Open Door Learning Centers, will share multiple ways to teach and review the content of the citizenship interview in fun, interactive ways using a virtual teaching platforms such as Zoom or Google Meet. Participants will receive links to online resources that can be used in one-on-one or small group teaching settings. Available as a Video Training
  • Talk Amongst Yourselves: Building Up to Student-Facilitated Conversations: Learn three essential skills students need in order to join a conversation and keep it going. This webinar will demonstrate how to introduce those strategies and get students talking in small groups online. Come ready to participate in  small groups and try out the techniques during webinars! Available as Webinar and Video Training 
  • Please Say That Again: Pronunciation Instruction for Adult ESL Learners: English pronunciation is a challenge, but important to teach! In this training, learn about three different pronunciation features that can be taught and practiced during virtual and in-person instruction. Participants will learn how the three features impact speakers’ intelligibility, and explore activities designed to help learners practice using these features in their daily speech. 
  • Developing Fluency and Vocabulary for Beginning English Speakers: Beginning level language learners are expected to master a great deal of vocabulary right from the start. Discover methods for teaching vocabulary to beginning level English learners, and recommendations for making it stick. Participants will also explore ways to build speaking fluency and confidence, and will leave with concrete activity ideas that can be used in one-on-one or small group instruction.
  •  
  • Talk Amongst Yourselves: Building Up to Student-Facilitated Conversations: Learn three essential skills students need in order to join a conversation and keep it going. This webinar will demonstrate how to introduce those strategies and get students talking in small groups online. Come ready to participate in  small groups and try out the techniques during webinars! Available as Webinar and Video Training 
  • Please Say That Again: Virtual Pronunciation Instruction for Adult ESL Learners: It can be challenging to make yourself understood over the phone, even for native English speakers! Learn about three different pronunciation features that can be taught and practiced during virtual video instruction. Participants will learn how the three features impact speakers’ intelligibility, and explore activities designed to help learners practice using these features in their daily speech. 
  • I Hear You! Effective Listening Instruction for English Language Learners: Learn how explicit listening instruction builds a foundation for literacy skills and fosters independence for language learners. This workshop will identify authentic learning tasks that English learners encounter daily, try out a variety of listening activities across multiple levels, and discuss which explicit listening strategies are used for each one. Participants will leave with ideas for listening tasks that can be used in remote or in-person instruction.

  • Teaching Phonics to Adult English Learners: Phonics is a crucial part of becoming a reader, yet many adult ESL learners lack sufficient decoding skills to be able to sound out and recognize new words, and don’t get adequate phonics instruction in their beginning level classes. Learn phonics activities to help learners with blending, segmenting, and developing phonemic awareness skills. Participants will leave with multiple activities and suggestions for making phonics relevant and engaging to learners.
  • Developing and Practicing Reading Fluency: Come and review the important role of fluency in reading instruction. Discuss the three key components of reading fluency and look at a variety of activities tutors and teachers can try. Talk about the mechanics of doing fluency practice via  remote tutoring tools or in-person. Participants will have plenty of opportunity to ask questions and share resources. This workshop will be most useful for instructors working with low-intermediate to advanced readers.
  • Teaching Reading Vocabulary Remotely or In Person: Vocabulary is everyone’s favorite reading component! And helping students master reading vocabulary is a key to helping them master comprehension. But how many words should be taught? And which words are the most important? What strategies are best for helping students learn new words? How to get students to make new words part of their receptive and productive vocabularies? This training will focus on the theory and best practice behind choosing, teaching and reviewing reading vocabulary. Participants will have a chance to learn about (and practice) a variety of activities that can be done remotely or in person. Links to great online resources will also be provided. This workshop will be most useful for instructors working with low-intermediate to advanced readers.
  • Comprehension Strategies for Intermediate Level Readers: Research shows that explicitly teaching a set of comprehension strategies is a great way to help intermediate-level readers maximize their understanding of texts. Come learn a handful of great comprehension tools that will help students develop critical thinking skills and comprehension skills.
  • Approaches and Activities to Support Writing Development: Incorporating writing instruction for English language learners of all levels is a challenge for many teachers and tutors. In this training, participants will learn approaches for including writing practice throughout the lesson and activities for extended practice. Participants will also develop strategies for delivering feedback for writing during and in-between lessons.

 

  • Remote Tutoring 101: Join Literacy Minnesota ABE and ESL trainers for a virtual workshop on how to be an effective tutor from a distance! Learn best practices for connecting and communicating one-on-one with learners on the phone or online, get suggestions for correcting errors and checking comprehension in a virtual setting, and discover language activities that can be done over the phone or on a video call. Available as a Video Training
  • A Roadmap for Success: Remote Lesson Planning 101: Whether teaching one learner on WhatsApp or large group on Zoom or Google Meet, lesson planning is a critical part of ensuring learner success with virtual instruction.  Participants learn how to design lessons so that both the teacher and the learners experience success. Topics covered include: how to write effective objectives to guide planning, tried and true planning methods and lesson plan formats, and how to build in comprehension checks throughout the lesson. Available as a Video Training
  • Making It Work: Adapting Materials 101: In this workshop, learn recommendations for adapting materials designed for in-person instruction into a remote teaching format. The presenter will demonstrate approaches for introducing reading, writing, and vocabulary on a phone or computer, and will model adaptations for common ESL classroom activities. Participants will receive a handout that includes recommendations for building in class routines, an adapted lesson planning template, and activity instructions. Available as a Video Training
  • Facilitating Positive Learner Experiences during Remote Instruction: In this webinar, Literacy Minnesota teachers will share some of their favorite virtual routines that promote successful learning. Discover tried and true practices for creating interactive and engaging small group and large group virtual activities, and learn tricks and explore free tools to make virtual lessons go smoothly. Participants will leave with ideas and classroom management practices that can be put into practice immediately. Available as a Video Training

 

  • How Adult Brains Learn Languages: Learn what research has to say about how adult brains learn a new language, how trauma and stress impact learning, and how this influences the teaching practices that we use in the language classroom. Participants will leave the webinar with suggestions for ways teachers and tutors can apply brain-based teaching practices as we are helping adult ESL students develop their language skills.

 

  • Trauma-Informed Teaching Practices for Adult Learners: Trauma and chronic stress can come in many forms, and impact people’s ability to learn new skills and process information in a variety of different ways. In this webinar, learn how stress and trauma can manifest in the classroom, and learn about trauma-informed teaching practices that can help to support positive learning behaviors and increase retention and learner comfort.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • How do I prove that I've completed the training requirments?

Continuing Education Units (CEUs) will be sent out after each module. you can submit the CEUs to your volunteer coordinator to show that you've completed the 4-hour training requirements. Certificates for the 12-hour Foundations of Adult Education Tutoring will be sent out within a couple of weeks after you have completed all six required modules. 

  • Do the modules need to be taken in any particular order? 

No. We recommend taking the Core Training Modules in order (one through four), but they can be taken out of order. Targeted Training modules can be taken at any time.

  • Do I need to take the modules within a certain amount of time to earn the certificate?

Yes. You must complete all required modules within six months of when you begin volunteering. 

  • I have attended previous webinars offered by Literacy Minnesota. Does my attendance at these workshops count towards the Volunteer Foundations Training requirements?

If you attended a webinar on tutoring adult learners prior to October of 2021, many of those webinars will count towards the Targeted Training requirements for the 4- and 12-hour Volunteer Foundations Trainings. 

  • I am not interested in volunteering in adult education. May I still attend workshops?

Yes. CEUs are also offered after each workshop.

  • I am not a volunteer or involved with Literacy Minnesota. May I still attend modules?

Yes, the Core and Targeted Training Modules are open to everyone.

  • I am going to be late to a module or need to leave early. Will I still earn credit for attending the workshop? 

We understand that sometimes schedules change. We encourage participants to attend the entire module, but you may miss up to 15 minutes total and still receive credit for the workshop. If you need to miss more than 15 minutes of the module, please attend an alternate date. We will automatically make note of what time you arrive or leave and you do not need to notify us.

  • Will I receive credit for attending the same module twice?

No, you will only receive credit for each module once.

  • How is my attendance at Volunteer Foundations Trainings tracked?

We track attendance in our database. To make sure your attendance is tracked, please make sure to register in advance for each module. For in-person workshops, we ask that you sign in using the provided physical sign-in sheet. For webinars, your participation is automatically logged when you sign into Zoom.

We also ask that you keep track of your participation in case of system errors. 

  • I am not sure if I have attended a qualifying Volunteer Training Foundations module. How do I find out?

Please contact Kelly at krynda@literacymn.org to receive a list of qualifying modules you have attended. We also ask that you keep track of your participation in case of system errors.

  • I have other questions. Who can I contact? 

Please contact Kelly at krynda@literacymn.org.