Building confidence in English unlocks opportunities For many immigrants arriving in New Zealand whose English is limited or non-existent, life can be confusing, overwhelming – and lonely. Takanini Family Service Centre partners with Manukau Institute of Technology (MIT) to host a FREE English course that MIT facilitates. Classes are held on Monday and Friday, 9.30am to 12.30pm at the Takanini Family Service Centre. June Brunton, tutor of Manukau Institute of Technology, explains the course aims to build confidence using small, short and simple sentences. Learning is through listening, reading, and speaking about practical topics such as food, shopping, transport and visiting the doctor. Harpreet has lived in New Zealand for one-and-a half years, has a master’s degree in computer application and a good understanding of written English but lacks confidence when it comes to speaking it which has been holding her back. The classes give her the opportunity to practice listening and speaking English while her child attends the early learning centre at the same site. Charanjit joined four years ago and had some English to begin with but says, “Kiwis talk so fast and there are so many different accents. I cannot make sense of what they say, but now no problem.” Students can enrol for up to five years. Charanjit keeps coming back even though his English has improved because he has made many friends through the class. Often Charanjit goes to the Botanical Gardens near his home and starts up conversations with people passing by. “I like to talk to many people, because many older people, they are lonely.” MIT tutor, June Brunton with Charanjit and Harpreet The focus of the class is to give people the confidence to participate more fully in their community. Recently, two students have improved their English to the point that they have been able to enable future study and get jobs. Takanini Family Service Centre administrator Nupur Deshpande says they are ideally placed to host English classes at the centre. “When the social services team are doing home visits, they identify people who are struggling with English. HIPPY tutors see grandparents who want to improve their English to help grandchildren with learning. Mums who have moved to South Auckland recently and are bringing their children to attend a playgroup or Plunket will often enquire about the classes”. The multi-language team at the Takanini Family Service Centre also helps new students feel more comfortable about joining the English class. With staff speaking Hindu, Samoan, Mandarin and Cantonese, it reflects the multi-cultural community of Takanini. Enrolments are accepted throughout the year through MIT. Vanessa Lewis, Senior Lecturer at MIT explains this is a ‘low level’ class which means students have very little or basic literacy in English. The classes are free to New Zealand citizens, residents, permanent residents, and people with partnership work visas. The lessons are taught in English and designed to cater to learners who often don’t speak a lot of English when they join. For more information, please contact: Takanini Family Service Centre Phone (09) 974 4719 Email: [email protected] To enrol, please contact: Manukau Institute of Technology Phone (09) 968 8796 Email: [email protected] Our Takanini Family Service Centre is a true community hub, providing integrated health, education and social services in high-needs communities.