Project overview

The Chinese-speaking community is one of the fastest growing cultural groups in Australia.

Many of the new arrivals have low levels of English proficiency, and the Point Cook Community Learning Centre is aware of this issue in its community.

This project targeted Chinese seniors who have recently migrated to Australia and were living in the area.

Project description

This project aimed to help older Chinese people learn to speak English in a fun way, through singing.

The participants found it easier to sing than to speak English, and singing gave them the courage to open their mouths to speak English.

The participants were motivated to learn, as they know speaking English is critical for them to live in Australia happily and independently of their children.

Project model

Older Chinese residents attended regular English-language classes that were conducted in song.

Singing provided an easier and fun way to learn English.

Classes were conducted at the Point Cook Community Learning Centre.

Budget

Total project cost: $2,090

Project challenges

Based on feedback from participants, the content for the English conversation classes was scaled back. Instead of concentrating on sentence structure, the class now focuses on simple pronunciation.

The teacher, a qualified English teacher from Shanghai, went back to the very basics – the alphabet, and what sound to make for each letter.

Project outcomes

Approximately 25 attendees came to the classes every week and enjoyed singing in English.

Attending regularly led to participants becoming comfortable with each other.

Combined with lots of encouragement from the teacher, their confidence grew and their ability to learn English improved

Project sustainability

The classes will continue with support from the Point Cook Chinese Friendship Association.