Help speakers of other languages learn English

Language tutor volunteer Myra Todd, centre, with learners Tatijana, left, and Aleksandra.
Language tutor volunteer Myra Todd, centre, with learners Tatijana, left, and Aleksandra.

Volunteers are needed to help speakers of other languages learn English.

The English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) provision at the Elmwood campus of Scotland’s Rural College (SRUC0 is currently helping more than 40 people, aged from six to 50.

Now, in order to offer a supplementary service and provide learners with access to more tuition, ESOL co-ordinator Pauline Blake-Johnston is looking to train volunteer tutors.

Volunteers would receive Introduction to Teaching ESOL training through a Scottish Qualifications Authority, Professional Development Award.

Pauline said: “Volunteers are an invaluable part of the service we provide and we have found that they get so much out of it. Volunteering provides the unique opportunity to meet people and make lasting friendships with students from different cultures and backgrounds.”

For more information contact Pauline at SRUC Elmwood on 01334 658939.

Myra Todd (61) from Craigrothie is a typical volunteer.

She recently retired after 25 years working as a community support co-ordinator and community support worker. She completed the online training from home, spent time observing Pauline’s classes over a four-month period and has now been in her new role for nine weeks.

“I enjoy meeting people and I feel there is a real need to help people settle into the country,” she says.

“Every Friday morning I work with Tatijana (58) and Aleksandra (31) and would definitely recommend it to others. It fits in well into my lifestyle and the times are convenient for me and my learners.”

Tatijana, who is originally from Estonia, is making the most of the opportunity to improve her life here through better communication and dialogue skills.

“I attend the class two times a week,” said Tatijana. “I work with Pauline in one class and Myra in another. I would recommend this course to others, it has improved my vocabulary”.=

Aleksandra and her young family moved to Scotland from Kunashir in Russia during 2015. She finds the class invaluable, particularly the exercises surrounding different real-life scenarios, like going to the doctors.

It also means she is able to help her children with their English.

Aleksandra said: “I have gained a lot of useful knowledge from the classes, and enjoy learning from Myra. I have found my speaking, listening and writing skills have improved.”