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02.07.2020 / News /

Language as empowerment: UVW online English classes

Every Saturday, now online because of Covid-19, four volunteers, Valentina, Ellie, George and Chris, teach English classes for UVW membership. All of them have been volunteering with UVW for a few months now, but the English classes themselves have been running for over a year.

Before lockdown there was one class a week, every Saturday in the UVW offices. Now, post-lockdown, interest in the class has taken off, with sometimes over 130 sign ups per week. Our English teachers now run three online classes on Saturdays – two beginner and one intermediate – adapted to membership needs and to how the teachers like to work.

Chris, who teaches the intermediate class, begins with a listening exercise, then a reading exercise, and finishes with conversation and vocabulary practice. The beginner classes focus on introducing yourself, conversational vocabulary, word structure and grammar.

Chris is also a caseworker at UVW, and has seen both sides of what English skills can do for members. When asked about why he believes English classes are important he said,

We run English classes principally for the empowerment of membership. Language is the best way to feel empowered and be empowered. Many members want to learn English to get a better job, to be able to defend themselves and know their rights. If members were confident in English they could defend themselves in a lot of situations at work rather than relying solely on caseworkers. We want members to feel confident and prepared to stand up to bosses.”

If you would like to join a class, please sign up by emailing uvwenglishcafe@gmail.com and indicate which class you would like to join.

  • Beginner class, 11:30—12:30 (for people with little or no experience of the English language)

  • Intermediate class 12:30-13:30 (for people who can speak and understand reasonably well and can use basic tenses but have problems with more complex grammar and vocabulary)

  • Capacity : 20 people per class, the first 20 people to sign up will receive a link by Friday evening

  • All learning materials provided! You only need a pen and paper

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