RaPAL

Research and Practice in Adult Literacy – a friendly group

Mohua Wang

Mohua Wang, Glenroy Neighbourhood Learning Centre

I came to Australia in 1994. My name is Mohua. Before I came from China, Beijing, I was working in the Beijing Telecommunications Institute. I designed computer equipment for telecommunications. I was a telecommunications engineer. I did this work for twenty-nine years. Then I came to Australia. My English was no good, so I couldn’t do this work. I couldn’t do anything. The time I came here, twenty-two years ago, I learned English, but I couldn’t do it well, so sometimes I felt life was difficult. I see my daughter. I can’t listen. I can’t answer.

So I like learning English.

A few years ago, I came here, learning English for Manjit. I feel my English is improved, so I like to continue learning. I like this class. I like continuing learning. If they make more time, that will be better I think. My grandson goes to school, comes back and talks English, I don’t understand, so that feels difficult. I am older, so it’s difficult. But I like learning… and yes, I like coming to class.

Tutor Perspective: Manjit Bhamral

Actually, last term when we were talking about this class, and they were telling me that they come here to learn English, but also they come here to meet each other. Life is quite lonely or difficult, or a challenge. But then they come here, and they forget so many things. Or they are one with each other, and then they make different programs, sometimes also out of class, to go somewhere sometimes, and through this class, coming to know each other, they join other groups as a result. It’s so good for their self-esteem, coming here. Just before you came, we were talking, there’s not such a huge jump in my English, but here I feel good, just to be at peace, meeting other people, seeing that other people face similar challenges. It takes a lot of courage to talk.

Very difficult when you don’t have the language because, when I am doing a lot of speaking activities, I can see in your eyes you understand, but it’s not coming out because you don’t have the language. You’re all adults, and so many of you are older than me and you’ve got life experiences which (you) share with me. It’s just the language that hinders. Very challenging.

From my experience of learning a language, when I came to Australia, I had the language, but I felt like I was Somebody in my country, and I was Nobody here. It took a lot of time and patience to become Somebody. Now I know people know my name. Now I know that when I go somewhere, people come and talk to me. Before, I would be in a crowd, and nobody knew me, and I knew nobody, and it was a very strange feeling. And I found Australia to be very big and vast, and I was lost, I was lost. And it’s the same Australia, but I have an identity now, so I understand what you say (Mohua).

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