HOMEWORK is always a struggle, but it can be much harder in a foreign country where you don’t speak the language.
To combat this, Northern Settlement Services has organised twice weekly ESL homework centres.
The classes are not held anywhere else in the Northern Tablelands and offer newly-arrived primary schoolchildren a much-needed boost with language.
“The kids are a mixture of refugees, migrants and children of UNE international students,” coordinator Fay Paris said.
Classes are run at Drummond Memorial Public School and supplemented by small grants from Armidale Dumaresq Council and the University of New England. Children learn English through exercises and games.
“IT’S ABOUT creating equity in their education,” Ms Paris said.
“They have English as a second language which puts them at a disadvantage.
“Schooling in other countries can also be very different in this intimate setting we can bring up cultural norms that don’t always come up in the classroom.”
The centre is just as rewarding for those who help out in one-on-one tutoring with the children.
The centre’s volunteers are made up of university students, retirees and former teachers.
Former Duval High School Principal Phil Jones said he has been volunteering for about 18 months.
“It’s really important,” Mr Jones said.
“A lot of these students need help with their English, this provides them with a catch-up.”
Those with a spare afternoon and experience working with children are being encouraged to sign up as a volunteer tutor with the program.
Anyone wishing to volunteer can contact Jane Davies at the Armidale Volunteer Referral Service by calling 6770 3838 or sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.