Once again, VU Access Programs St Albans will run its English as Second Language (ESL) program for St Albans Secondary College parents who come from a Non-English Speaking (NESB) background.
The focus will be on using computers to build language skills. Participants will learn to access and evaluate online language sites and use computer applications to support their learning.
The program first ran in 2009 after Kerrie Dowsley, Principal of St Albans Secondary College, requested helpfrom Victoria University (VU)to build the language skills of College parents from an NESB background.
She met with VU staff members: Virginia Saint-James, Head of School, General Education Programs and Services; Marie Williams Program Manager, St Albans and Werribee and Frank Zarosinski, Teacher, Access Programs.
Together, they set up an ESL class that focussed on English language development and computer literacy. The class was held on the school grounds, providing participants with a familiar environment in which to learn.
Participants were enrolled in two modules from the Certificate II in ESL (Access) that focussed on their identified needs.
The feedback at the end of 2009 was very positive. Participants liked the friendly atmosphere, felt comfortable asking questions and felt empowered. After completing the program they felt they had a better understanding of internet, email and computer language, were more comfortable using a computer at home and less reliant on their children.
A further measure of the program's success was that participants were able to use the class as a pathway to formal study. Three of the participants articulated into full-time ESL classes at VU St Albans campus.
The active support from VU and St Albans Secondary College has resulted in a community partnership that continues to grow.