We met up with Liz Peattie who has just started to provide free English lessons for people in the local community. Here’s what Liz had to say about it.

  1. Tell me a little bit about yourself Liz.

I’m a mother of 2 children. My son is at Bourne School and daughter is at Ratton School. I helped at English 4 All last year where we provided formal teaching. I’d like to help out again as I can see the need but also because I’ve experienced the situation of being in another country and not being able to speak the language. I lived in Albania for 6 months and it was really isolating not being able to understand what street signs mean or how to negotiate with people at the market.

  1. Tell us what you did when you helped out last year with English 4 All?

I was preparing each lesson. We tried to create a theme for each week and then plan lots of different and fun activities around that theme. It was quite challenging as you didn’t know from week to week who would come and as there was quite a large range of abilities it was sometimes difficult to prepare resources and activities that will suit everyone.

We had everything from people who were very fluent, who had lived and worked here for years, to people that had come over as refugees or migrants and didn’t know much at all, or were not very confident.  Sometimes I would find that they knew more than they thought, and it was just a boost in confidence they needed.

  1. How will English 4 All do this differently this year?

This year it is a more informal conversation class so that we won’t have the level of activities, but people will still have the opportunity to talk about topics and play games or just chat about life and what they are doing.

There are a lot of people that are arriving here who need help. Often it’s just coping with day to day activities such as shopping or going to the doctor, where it’s really important to them to be able explain what they need or what’s wrong.

  1. What kind of activities have you got planned and how will they help?

We’ve got board games, card games that will encourage people to speak together.

The activities are geared to get people talking and enjoying themselves. I find some of the women that come over with their husband feel quite isolated. Their husband is off to work and they are often stuck at home with a baby, and might not know how to make social contact if they don’t speak the language.

We will also keep the classes quite informal so that people can bring small children without it being a massive disturbance, so people don’t miss out on learning how to speak English.

The conversational English classes are at the Seaside Community Hub from 1.30-3pm every Thursday afternoon.