Moving up with better English | ELPNZ

Moving up with better English

27 January 2015


With his sight set on becoming a supervisor at work, Lemisio Kolio is not only relishing the chance to better his skills in his adopted language, but is thriving in the free, weekly classes.

Teacher Shirley Murphy says she adapts lessons to include students’ individual needs.
Lemisio brought along quite a few documents he needs to fill in for his company. Some words were quite hard, so we’ve incorporated them into the class, to help with his vocabulary.”
Lemisio, 55, says the new words help him to express himself better, and give him more confidence in talking with his boss. 
“That’s the main thing for me, learning new words and knowing their meaning,” he says. “I just want more words, and learn to spell the words I already know [how to pronounce].”
Learning is not limited to the two-hour per week lessons either, with the students’ homework including reading newspaper articles, listening to talkback radio and watching news on TV.
Lemisio is focusing on vocabulary to help him in his job at a meat processing plant, but other class members say they have also benefitted from lessons based on Lemisio’s work documents.
Shirley agrees that an overlapping of students’ requirements is a common theme throughout the classes, as all participants are working, and share similar overall language needs. 
“They all draw on each other, which is quite neat really.
“The classes are not all serious though, with games like bingo adding a fun way to drill in new vocabulary. 
“We do have some laughs, but we learn a lot, too.” 

In the end, though, learning a language is never an easy task. Proud father Lemisio has seven children aged between 32 and 15  and says without his family's help he would have been lost. 
“Most of the time I [used to] say to them ‘Come and help me’ and now I go back with my new words and my homework and I say ‘Come – I can show you’,” he says. “My English is much better now.”
If Lemisio continues at his current pace, his ambition may be realised sooner rather than later.

Photos: Soane Tonga