Meet one of our newest team members, Prace EAL teacher Enzo!
Enzo only joined Prace last term, but he has been teaching a wide variety of students for the last three decades.
“I’ve taught business communication skills to apprentices in refrigeration mechanics, welding, electrical and carpentry, among others,” he said.
Enzo has also worked extensively with unemployed people, providing re-skilling and retraining support.
He originally started teaching in the secondary system, often with students from non-english speaking backgrounds but since 1984 has focused on teaching EAL and English conversation to adults.
“I’ve taught at a number of different community houses and recently many students have found it challenging to have to adapt to the online environment if they aren’t comfortable with computers. But we manage! Hopefully we’ll be back to face to face classes soon.
“I teach because I like to share the experience with people who to want to learn and to go on that journey with them. It’s only a small part of their overall life journey, but it’s a critical one!
“I like to provide a positive environment where they are comfortable and where they can be confident that together we will achieve good things. It gives me a buzz to see them progress and grow.
“I’m very mindful of the different needs of the students – they have different experiences, in learning and in life, and they all need to move at their own pace. I make sure everyone understands what we’re doing and has mastered any new words before we advance.
“This is also good for the students who have been learning English longer, because they can help the newer students and it reminds them of how challenging it can be at first and also how far they have come.
“It’s a two-way benefit because the newer students appreciate the peer support, but also it builds the confidence when the older students can give back to someone who is a little behind them on the learning journey.”
Enzo always tries to come up with interesting ways for his students to learn.
“I trawl newspapers and TV news for stories that will engage them. When you feel strongly about a topic and you’re keen to discuss it and it is much easier to find the words you need!
“I like working with the text books, but their content can be restrictive or perhaps not so relevant, so I find material that they engage with emotionally and which they might want to discuss with their friends and family. And again, it can be a two-way learning process if we talk about issues that are relevant to the particular student’s life.
“For example, we looked at the media coverage of the killing of a lion called Cecil in Africa by an American dentist. The lion had wandered out of his protected environment in a national park and was subsequently shot by the dentist who was a recreational game hunter.
“Most of the media reaction to this incident was horror at the death of the lion. I had an African student who offered a different perspective though, because she had experience of living in a place where a young girl had been killed and where being harmed by lions was a real possibility. This was a very powerful discussion and an example of the way we all are enriched through communication.”
Enzo said working with relevant and current stories also gives the students the opportunity to build their vocabulary on topics they either need to know, or are interested in, rather than just learning arbitrary lists of words that they might never use in real life.
“It takes courage to undertake a course in another language, but it is good for the spirit to rise to the challenge and I think the students get a lot of other benefits from doing it, in terms of their confidence in themselves and their enjoyment at the social interactions.
“I would encourage anyone who is interested to give it a try!”