Maryam is a young Iranian woman who arrived in Australia in 2019. She was enrolled into an Intermediate level English class called Australian Life and Culture that focuses on developing speaking and listening skills in the context of learning about living in Australia, aspects of culture, idiomatic language etc.
When Maryam first presented she was a shy young woman but during her time with us, we have seen Maryam blossom into a confident, articulate, expressive and thoughtful speaker. She now has the courage and confidence to express her needs with classmates and neighbours. As well, Maryam has gone from feeling like English might as well have been Japanese ( another unknown language ) to being able to listen to daily press conferences with Daniel Andrews and understanding what he is saying. She can discuss in breakout rooms on her now Zoom English classes, complex matters with clarity and forethought. Her teacher notes that Maryam has been quick to embrace online learning ( after real hesitation at first ) and has become someone who can discuss sensitive issues with honesty and directness , always keeping her own gentle humour and smile throughout.
Her genuine enthusiasm for learning about other people and this new country she now calls home have endeared her to her classmates and teacher and it has been a privilege to watch her shine and grow, especially considering the lockdown conditions have the added pressure of Maryam guiding her prep aged child though home schooling, something she – like so many but especially for EAL learners – has not felt confident in doing.
When Maryam is asked about the impact the adult education program has had on her life she answers “Absolutely good “. She described the growth in her self-confidence and her independence.
As well Maryam described how her speaking and listening had improved, her vocabulary and understanding of colloquial language was better and she now enjoys listening to the news (and following the latest COVID situation).
Maryam now feels confident about her future or at least she has goals she hopes to attain, and a gratitude for a country that has embraced and supported her through the most difficult time of her life.
In Iran Maryam was a designer of computer software, websites and programming. This is still an area she is passionate about and her goal for the future would be to be able to work again in this industry and do any further study at Uni that that may require for her credentials to be recognised.
For now Maryam recognises that ” Improving my English is first ” but a future in computer science is in her sights. More immediately, Maryam is hoping to do a course that will assist her to be more job-ready and enable her to continue with further study at a higher level.