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13 May 2009
SANDY CENIN: Our students come from a range of different backgrounds. Our students are all migrants. Some have been here for a long time. Some are fairly recent arrivals. They come from different places all over the world. We have all the continents represented in our classes at the moment.
FATIMA: My name is Fatima and I came from Portugal about 15 years ago.
THU: My name is Thu. I come from Vietnam.
MARIA: My name is Maria and apparently I came from Iran, a Middle East country.
NGA: My name is Nga. I'm from Vietnam.
FADEL: My name is Fadel. I come from Iraq, from the south of Iraq, from Basra.
LUIGI SANTO: My name is Luigi Santo. I come here to school to learn English.
AFRA BALA: Hi, I'm Afra Bala, from Liberia.
HWA: My name is Hwa. I'm from Vietnam and I'm doing Certificate IV of Advanced English studying here.
SANDY CENIN: Obviously, those students have a lot of different needs. Some that have been here for a long time, they're working , they're involved in society and their speaking and listening is really good and they've come back to us to improve their reading and writing.
Others are well qualified from their parent countries and they want their qualification recognised or they want to go on to further study so they're here predominantly to improve their academic communication and their reading and writing.
THU: At the moment we study how to write and read and listening skills.
MARIA: My goal is, as I said, to improve my English a little more in my reading, writing should be a lot better. And after that I'm going to go study some business studies.
SANDY CENIN: In Speaking and Listening we study a range of speaking and listening skills. Students can develop their skills in listening for the general meaning or the gist as well as listening for specific information. We do a lot of vocabulary work and we do a lot of work in spoken Australian English in a range of settings and a range of formal and informal contexts.
NGA: Yes, the hard thing for me because I speak Vietnamese and we don't use much S in our language so, you know, the problem for mostly Asians and also you know, when we speak English we always forget the S.
MARIA: The most hard part is writing for me so writing, my dictation is horrible.
HWA: At the moment there's a class, Australian studies, Australian language. It helps me a lot.
TEACHER: So shall we talk about what stories have been in the news today? What have you been hearing about and reading about in the last week.
SANDY CENIN: In Australian Studies we look at a lot of issues and topics to do with living in Australia that recent migrants may not have been exposed to. We talk about a lot of different Australian issues and we also give the students really important information about our different systems in Australia: systems of government; welfare systems, systems and support networks that they would be able to access to make life in Australia more enjoyable and to be able to participate more in Australian life.
FADEL: I study hard. I study in the TAFE and also I study in my home and I do a lot of things and searching for any subject and I read the newspaper and I do all my homework.
SANDY CENIN: We like to get students out of the classroom whenever we can. I always think the best language experiences are those ones that are authentic but we also just have social occasions.
In pronunciation we look at the different sounds of English, we also study different stress, rhythm and intonation patterns, so the melody of the language, the rhythm of the language and the emphasis on syllables and on words in sentences.
A lot of students really enjoy and appreciate pronunciation. I think that's because it's a physical thing and first thing in the morning it's easier to switch on your mouth and do some exercises than it may be to switch on your brain.
The language classroom's different I reckon because there's such an emphasis on communication and there's such an emphasis on practice and we have students that come and they expect to have a 'lecturer talks, students listen and take notes' kind of environment and you just can't learn a language like that.
HWA: I like it. The teachers, the class is very lively. Everyone really wants to study and friendly. The environment is beautiful and the teachers they are very friendly, helpful and the class every time is very interesting.
SANDY CENIN: Because our classes are very communicative students do get close to each other and students and teachers develop these close relationships that often last well beyond their time of study with us, and we have students returning to us and catching up all the time. It's a lovely thing.