Oldham Lifelong Learning have been delivering the Talk English project since February 2014, supporting residents to improve their English and get more involved in the community through Talk English Courses, Friends and Activities. By working in partnership with community centres, libraries, housing associations, faith groups, children’s centres and schools, so far the Talk English team in […]
Oldham Lifelong Learning have been delivering the Talk English project since February 2014, supporting residents to improve their English and get more involved in the community through Talk English Courses, Friends and Activities.
By working in partnership with community centres, libraries, housing associations, faith groups, children’s centres and schools, so far the Talk English team in Oldham have engaged over …. learners.
Learning English at Freehold Community Primary Academy
Through Talk English, Freehold Community Primary Academy in Chadderton have been offering parents with low levels of English the chance to improve their English on a Talk English course taught by trained volunteers, Helen and Shabana.
Helen, Talk English Volunteer ESOL Teacher
“This is the most important afternoon of my week because I see what a difference I am making to learners.”
Having successfully completed the Level 3 Award in Education and Training, Helen has been teaching at Freehold Community Primary Academy since November 2015. Although she works part time, Helen had some free time and the capacity to volunteer. Initially, Helen said that she felt out of her ‘comfort zone because ESOL was totally new to her but she ‘felt very welcomed by everyone involved in the project, learning quickly, especially about cultural issues.’
By volunteering Helen says she has gained experience in different ways to teach, especially around differentiation, as well an understanding of the challenges faced by our learners.
“It has been a huge learning curve, I feel very proud of the way I have managed this challenge. My biggest achievement is that we have recruited a big class and the learners come back every week.”
Her biggest challenge in teaching the course has been ensuring that all her learners get what they need from the course, as well as talking slowly enough!
Helen has enjoyed the experience so much that she would like to become an Adult Education tutor, as she feels the training and teaching experience has hugely improved and extended her teaching skills and employability, giving her the confidence to try to widen her teaching role. On a personal note, Helen says that teaching on the project is the most important afternoon of her week because she sees what a difference she is making to learners.
Shabana, Talk English Volunteer ESOL Teacher
Teaching alongside Helen, Shabana has also successfully completed the Level 3 Award in Education and Training. Before volunteering with Talk English, Shabana was already volunteering as a teaching assistant at Freehold. As she had never taught adults, at the start of her teaching placement she felt really nervous and scared of planning her own teaching, however through the training and volunteering she feels she has gained lots:
“I gained a lot of different skills, planning sessions, being organised, meeting different people, understanding different people’s learning styles. I gained knowledge of ESOL. I worked in partnership with the other tutor.”
Her biggest challenge while teaching with Talk English has been meeting the different needs of learners, however this has also been her greatest achievement as she feels that she has helped learners to reach their learning outcomes and achieve what they want and need.
Like Helen, Shabana is interested in pursuing a career in adult education, as the experience has not only improved her teaching skills, but also her confidence, and she feels that the experience will help her get a job in the future, as she now has lots to put on her CV. In addition, volunteering with Talk English has brought Shabana other benefits too:
“It helps me with my child and it helps me balance my lifestyle between home and volunteer commitments. It helps my self- esteem.”
Nazia, Talk English Learner
Originally from Pakistan, Nazia came to the UK 15 years ago to get married. Now a mother of two children, one of whom is still attending Freehold Community Primary Academy, Nazia joined Helen and Shabana’s Talk English class in November. This has been Nazia’s first experience of education both in the UK and Pakistan, as she did not have the opportunity to go to school as a child.
After finding out about the course at a school coffee morning, Nazia decided to start learning English to help herself and her children:
“I need it for myself and my child…. Parents meeting at school. Son goes to bigger school and teacher calls me in. I need it when I go to the doctor.”
Initially, Nazia felt very unsure and frightened of attending the course but she need not have been worried, as in addition to improving her English, Nazia has met lots of new people:
“I have made lots of friends in class, Samina, Naheed, loads of friends. Is good, I feel happier. I go out more to see friends.”
As a result of attending the course, Nazia is much more independent:
“I go self to doctors and teachers, I go to shops, it is good. I am more confident, it is good… I now go to see family, speaking English. I now speak English at home. I now come to activities in school and see teachers.”
Nazia wants to continue learning English, especially reading and writing, and in future she would like to get a job to support her family.
Samina, Talk English Learner
Also learning English at Freehold Community Primary Academy is Samina. Samina moved to the UK from Pakistan 11 months ago to join her husband and is expecting her first child. Although she went to school and college in Pakistan, Samina had never attended English classes before starting the course at the school and says she really needs to learn English:
“Because I need it, Family is English. My speaking English is not good. Now I have learned English I have lots of confidence.”
Like Nazia, Samina was really apprehensive about joining the English class feeling confused, frightened and alone, but now she feels that her English has really improved:
“I go to doctors alone. I speak to my family and kids in English . I am having first baby, I will speak to baby in English… I can fill in forms and read signs. I can now write my name and address.”
In addition to her improved English skills, Samina has also met new people and started getting out and about more:
“I have made lots of friends in class. Made friends with volunteers and Talk English people. I go to park and shopping centre. I go to community events. I dream that one day my English is too much good.”
In future, Samina hopes to get a job, ideally as a nursery teacher.