Dynamic duo championing a Zero Waste future

English Language Groups

Taking aim at Auckland’s 2040 Zero Waste target are two extraordinary women from English Language Partners (ELP).

Abeer Khankan and Jan Scott, from ELP’s North Shore centre, know that if Auckland is to achieve its goal of Zero Waste by 2040, we need action.

“We need to start making a change,” says Abeer. “If we don’t start now, it’s going to be too late.”

Abeer and Jan appreciate achieving the 2040 target will be no mean feat. “We need to reduce the amount of waste Aucklanders send to landfill,” says Jan. “Everyone is essential for success.”

The ‘dynamic duo’ is engaging migrant and refugee-background Kiwis in their Zero Waste fight through a project they developed with support from the Upper Harbour Local Board and the Community WasteWise team.

To give their adult ESOL learners a full overview of waste issues, Abeer and Jan’s interactive, total immersion approach brings together workshops, presentations, a rubbish pick up activity and a recycling centre visit.

ELP’s North Shore centre learners learning through a recycling game

“Through the games we played, I can understand how my life can change to be more environmentally friendly,” says Mindy, an ELP learner.

“Knowing about Auckland’s waste issues is the first step to get started with recycling,” says Abeer. “Of course, feeling confident with English is important, so people can join community activities and feel they belong here.”

Feedback from learners has been enthusiastic, with people keen to talk about the parts of the project they’ve enjoyed most.

"I enjoyed visiting Waitākere Refuse and Recycling Centre most,” says Mindy “Because I can understand the current state of waste and feel more deeply.”

“I don’t like bugs and worms,” says Young, who also visited the recycling centre. “But I might have a worm farm or Bokashi to reduce food scraps and to save the planet.”  

“The more you learn about something, the more responsibility you take,” says Elmore.
ELP’s North Shore centre learners visit an Auckland recycling centre

Abeer received a well-deserved nomination for her work and made the finals in the Community Connections category at the 2021 Tāmaki Makaurau Zero Waste Awards.

Abeer and Jan have also created an outstanding teaching resource, another of the project’s great results.

‘Get your Rubbish Sorted Supplementary Resource Book’ helps learners understand what’s happening locally and teaches the related English. The Zero Waste resource is designed specifically for ESOL teachers and learners and is stacked with activities.

 Next up for Abeer and Jan is to share their resource with ELP’s other Auckland centres and ESOL providers across Auckland.

“Seeing our learners happy and invested in this project has been inspiring,” says Jan. “The resource is so easy for teachers to use, and we hope it’s as successful with ESOL learners all over Auckland.’  

“It’s amazing what’s come out of this project,” says Abeer. “It’s totally overwhelming!

“Personally, I’ve changed my behaviour,” she says. “I don’t throw away as much every week, so we’ve hugely reduced our household rubbish.”

“If everyone plays a role, no matter how small, we will make a difference.”

Download Get your Rubbish Sorted Supplementary Resource Book

Project details

In class

·        52 hours class teaching

·        82 learners from 11 classes

·        15 Compost Collective workshops (12 online)

·        ‘Waste 101’ workshops (WasteWise advisors from Waste Solutions)

·        ‘Love Food Hate Waste’ workshops and cooking demonstrations

Out of class

·        Community cleanup of Albany Domain

·        Visit to Waitākere Refuse and Recycling Centre


Get your Rubbish Sorted Supplementary Resource Book

Resource for ESOL learners created by English Language Partners in response to Albany New Kiwis Zero Waste Education Initiative.

1.    informs learners of Auckland’s waste issues

2.   offers language support so learners can participate in zero waste workshops and activities outside the classroom.

From “Where does your lollipop wrapper end up?” to “What happens to your rubbish after it reaches the landfill?”, the resource answers common questions and provides useful data and facts, drawn from expert advice and support provided by the Community WasteWise team.

The resource’s interactive and communicative approach builds learners’ communication skills for use in class and in the community. Tasks are drawn from real life speech and behaviour around waste, with images that illustrate how to dispose of everyday items. Talking points aim to raise awareness and behaviour change around waste issues in Auckland.

With activities graded from elementary to advanced level, the resource is a combination of student workbook and teacher guide and its clear notes allow teachers to walk into the classroom with minimal planning.

This essential resource for Auckland’s migrants from diverse backgrounds and ethnicities was written by ELP North Shore’s ESOL teacher Jan Scott, a qualified linguist with extensive experience teaching English to migrants in New Zealand, and Abeer Khankan, a migrant-background ESOL teacher and ELP’s Vocational Programmes Coordinator who is herself a non-native speaker of English.

Download Get your Rubbish Sorted Supplementary Resource Book

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English Language Groups

  • 2-4 hours per week
  • Learn Kiwi English in a class
  • Learn about New Zealand culture
  • Go on day trips
  • Meet other people in your community
  • Qualified teachers
  • Fees may apply. Ask at your centre.
  • In all centres

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