Volunteer led Conversation Class for Tibetan community
It’s a cold wintery night in Melbourne’s inner west but over 20 members of the Tibetan community are gathered at a local library for a free English Conversation Class. They are joined by 6 volunteer tutors from Learning for Employment’s Adult Migrant English Program (AMEP). Most of the students learning English here came to Australia as refugees and they have varying levels of education. One thing they have in common though, is a desire to improve their English.
The volunteer tutors are a varied group. There is a retired teacher and an IT consultant. There are also two tutors whose parents migrated to Australia. They’re interested in helping the students because they understand the experience of migrating to Australia without English. Learning for Employment’s Volunteer Tutor Coordinator Wei said that, ‘Our tutors volunteer to help recent arrivals to Australia to learn and practice English. They want to help these people connect with their local communities and settle successfully in Australia.’
This Conversation Class started off with a single student and volunteer tutor but a connection was made with Tenzin Khangsar a leader in the local Tibetan community. As people in the Tibetan community started to come to the class, they told their friends. The class has now grown to over 20 students who attend regularly.
With 6 volunteer tutors, the class can support students at all different levels of English. The students enjoy attending a class in their local community, and the volunteers enjoy collaborating on a team project.