Everyday English - Stories of Success
The Woodcroft Morphett Vale Neighbourhood Centre’s Everyday English program is an affordable, flexible and inclusive program that assists both Australian and overseas born participants who lack satisfactory literacy or computer skills required for personal, educational or employment purposes. The two hour sessions are held on Tuesday mornings.
Currently the program is coordinated by Keven Cocks who has been volunteering within the program for seven years. Keven was formerly a Learning Support lecturer and Student Counsellor at TAFE SA with extensive experience of working with learners from diverse cultures, backgrounds and needs.
Presently there are eight tutors. They are suitably matched with each learner according to various skills and experience and a personalised program is tailored utilising a wide range of written and electronic learning resources to achieve an agreed outcome.
Dean Launer has been tutoring at WMVNC for 9 years. He is enthusiastic about learning others’ cultures, languages and stories. He appreciates eager learners and, one student in particular – Iranian refugee, Mani* – demonstrated that quality and underlines the success of the Everyday English program. Mani was a successful electrical engineer with a business prior to fleeing Iran. His qualifications required Australian accreditation and in order to achieve this he needed to learn fluent English. During the first six months Dean commenced with everyday English skills in relation to such areas as shopping, public transport and accessing health services. In the following six months they began focusing on Mani’s resume and job application processes and then perfecting these whilst learning about workplace standards and Australian culture in the final 6 months. As a result of this structured goal orientated learning Mani successfully gained employment in his field.
Sometimes it’s not just English language skills that are required by the learners. Jenni*, a Siberian migrant, moved to Australia with her ten year old son after marrying an Australian Russian. Jenni had studied English in Siberia but lacked verbal English skills and wanted to attend the program yet her son was not attending school because he could not speak English. She didn’t know how to engage with the Education Department to overcome this. Keven contacted the department on her behalf and was able to refer Jenni to the correct person and, as a consequence, her son was enrolled in a local school with appropriate support. Jenni still attends the Everyday English program intermittently as she prepares to study at TAFE in the future.
Wendy* came to Australia from Singapore for an extended visit with family and attended the program to improve her English and make the most of her stay. She was unable to return to Singapore when Australia’s borders were closed due to the COVID pandemic. Wanting to make the most of her extended stay and further improve her English Wnedy participated in other programs within the centre before returning to Singapore. Wendy is just one of many overseas visitors who utilise the Everyday English program to not only improve their English-speaking skills but gain a greater insight into Australian culture during their stay.
The approach used by the Everyday English team to assist learners to achieve their literacy goals successfully responds to the needs of a changing community.