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Learning Council seeks volunteers for conversational English

Moving to a new country and learning one of its official languages can be made a lot easier if you have someone to chat with.

The Learning Council of Lloydminster has three levels of English classes with over 50 people signed up. Like many other non-profits, they are looking for volunteers, but for this class, all that’s needed is talking with someone taking their first steps in a new community.

Kimberly Englot, program coordinator explains there is a variety of needs among the first-time English learners.

“There are some who are starting in Lloydminster with no language capacity for English. Then we have some who can speak or read English, but not necessarily write very well. These are all put in the beginner class. So, we need volunteers to help with the various levels.”

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The beginners’ class has 20 students and there are also intermediate and advanced classes. There are three teachers and two volunteers. The classes are held on Tuesdays and Thursdays at Lakeland College from 6:30-8:30 p.m. The course runs over 10 weeks – a total of 40 hours.

For the first timers, translating is done using a phone app combined with the support of a volunteer.

“Start like you would teach a child in Kindergarten how to read – going over the alphabet. Just patiently working with the instructor on ways to get the English lesson to the level.”

Among the recent students, the Learning Council is thrilled about a success story in the last year. The individual started only knowing their native language, but is now speaking English and got a job.

“The only way to speak with him was through the translator app on the phone. He went through all levels. He went through our fall course and is in the advanced class this winter. He went from no English. I believe he is even working now. He’s integrated into Lloydminster and comes to a lot of our other events,” says Englot.

Among the fun social activities, the group does bannock-making, guest lectures from community groups like the RCMP, craft and conversation, and family literacy for newcomers.

Englots says they welcome community involvement in these events and especially would like volunteers to help with conversational English. The present group runs until mid-April.

Anyone wanting to pitch in can call (780) 875-5763 or visit the Learning Council at its new location No. 2 – 2801 50 Avenue, Lloydminster.

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