A dedicated team from St George’s and beyond continue to run weekly ESOL classes on Tuesday mornings from 10am to 12 noon during school terms at St George’s, with numbers now reaching a maximum of 90 participants. On Thursday mornings over 20 attendees also participate in ESOL Bible classes. This is the seventh year the classes have been operating as our community outreach service.
On Tuesdays there are now seven classes running, from beginner to advanced levels. Classes are based primarily on raising the learners’ conversational skills in English, while also increasing their awareness of NZ culture and knowledge of Christian topics. Our Co-vicars also visit fortnightly to meet the students and provide a singing highlight with the group for a few minutes at the end of morning tea.
The Thursday morning ESOL Bible study is now running regularly at two class levels. Most of the participants have attended the Tuesday ESOL classes, but now some of the attendees come only to the Thursday classes.
The majority of students are Chinese, although there are several other ethnicities as well, including Sri Lankan, Korean, Japanese, Thai, Columbian and Pakistani. Learners are enabled to build links with each other and with St. George’s people, as well as participating more confidently in community activities. Many have expressed great appreciation for the opportunity to socialise in these classes, as some come from very isolated situations, where their main role is often supporting their children or grandchildren at local schools.
Twice a year we hold shared lunches, where the learners bring along dishes from their countries. This provides extra opportunity for deeper communication and establishing friendships with each other and the ESOL team. Classes are free, but we accept voluntary donations from most students towards the morning teas and photocopying.