Advanced English Class Excusion

Last Thursday, 17 March 2011, the weather was fine, our ESL class went on an excursion. We were six people and 2 babies. It was really good to be together, and as Pam said we were like a family going on an outing.

We met “under the clocks” at Flinders station at 9.30 am. We waited for some minutes for everyone to be there. We wandered on the Southbank. Pam brought some article describing the buildings and she explained to us some sculptures and designs. Then we went to the jetty to buy our tickets for the Yarra River Cruise which was scheduled at 10.30 am. As it was a bit early to board the ship, we had a coffee together, and this helped us to know each other a bit more.

We boarded the boat at exactly 10.30 am. The cruise was very interesting, the captain commented on the surroundings giving details including the costs of some of the houses and the Bolte bridge etc…I admit that I did not understand everything that he was saying, he was speaking too quickly. I appreciated the views of the docklands with all the tall buildings and new houses along the river.

We passed the Bolte Bridge and the West Gate Bridge. We saw the big container ships loading and unloading their cargo. The captain also attracted our attention to the big square ships which carry lots of different kinds of vehicles.
We arrived at Williamstown in the midst of many yachts. Many passengers disembarked there for lunch. We remained on the boat to return to Southbank. On our way back, our boat had to stop to help another one which had broken down. Some of the passengers from the other boat embarked on ours to go back to Southbank.

On our return to Southbank, we had a fantastic lunch together, we had sandwiches, sushi and Chinese foods. It was very nice to share this day together. I returned home happy with lots of memories.

From Gilliane / ESL Advanced Level
23.03.2011

MY STORY BY GEORGE KOTSONIS

I went to 3 different primary school growing up. At school, I had difficulty with spelling, writing and maths. It got worse when I got to high school. School was very hard for me to learn. I felt different to all the other kids it felt like everyone was smarter then me.

I started looking for work after school. From 1981-2009 I worked at a Warehouse for 15 years and worked in a fruit shop for 11years. I enjoyed working. I find it hard not working now.

WISE from Richmond sent me to the Port Melbourne Neighbourhood House Reading and Writing class to improve my skills. In the beginning I didn’t want to come to class. I didn’t think I be interested being in a class. I realised overtime I enjoyed coming to the class. I enjoy meeting new people and learning about them. I now understand spelling, reading and writing much better. I enjoy being in the class because everyone is friendly and nice. Our teacher Sandra is very good in teaching she is very helpful to me. She is helping me learn computers which I enjoy especially Issues in English. I now feel comfortable in class and I`m enjoying learning new things.

Rochelle’s experience at Port Melbourne Neighbourhood house

I moved to Melbourne after my marriage breakup for my own & family safety. It wasn’t easy being away from home having to look after myself for the first time in 2 decades. To satisfy Centrelink I tried to do English studies at a TAFE institution so I could feel useful & to improve my future prospects for work. I was put on a Personal Support Program, (PSP) which was quite hard to get into, indicating I wasn’t coping very well. I also had to look for rental housing as my only option for the first time, after owning a 20 square house on a big block. At this time I was homeless for the second time I was trying to find somewhere to live, go to the class and do my homework. I wasn’t coping with my TAFE course which resulted in me leaving the course. At the time I put it down to my lack of written skills in English.

My first PSP provider was closed down prematurely, and then I was in limbo for 12 months. I was able to get my second placement for a PSP at Sacred Heart Mission. My case worker suggested doing the Reading & Writing course at PMNH ending years of frustration.

Since I’ve been coming to PMNH for a period of about 3 years doing the Reading & Writing course I’ve been learning the basic aspects of writing. I can’t really remember learning in the public school system in my regional city in county Victoria in the 1970’s. At the same time as being at PMNH I was concurrently doing extra work at other places to improve my speech. I did speech therapy for 4 semesters and I did phonetics for 4-5 sessions.

The Reading & Writing course is run by our current teacher Sandra. The aim of the program is to evaluate what you still remember about the English language, & bring you up to pace. Our teacher has the luxury to move the smaller class on as whole, as well as building on our individual needs. Now when I`m reading, writing & listening I pay more attention & focus better on the tasks required.  As a result,  I’ve a greater understanding of the numerous laws & exceptions to the rules, inherent in the English language

Our English Class Excursion – by Bronslava

Our Excursion to Melbourne

We are a group of ESL students and one day we went for an excursion, it was on Thursday, March 17th. The weather was good, so we met under the clocks at Flinders Street station at 9:30AM. It was too early to go on a boat, so we took a walk across the Yarra River to Southbank.

On our way we stopped to buy the tickets for the Yarra River cruise. After that, we took a short promenade along Southbank and looked around and saw many small shops with nice cheap clothes.

We found a very nice modern style church and had coffee and went to board the boat. A few minutes later the captain of the boat started talking about the views around us. We could see many bridges, Docklands and many expensive new buildings.

After coming back, we had lunch at some café and had a discussion about our trip. I really enjoyed this day.

By Bronislava – ESL Advanced Class

Don’t rain on my parade!

It is a well-known urban legend that Port Melbourne Neighbourhood House is cursed with rain every time we hold an outdoor event.  Two days before the 2008 Community carnival the forecast was for – you guessed it – flooding.  Convinced we were doomed, Joanna and I came up with the crazy idea to create colourful rain-ponchos with the Port Melbourne Neighbourhood House logo. We were convinced that if everyone was dry and covered in primary-coloured PMNH-branded plastic this would solve the problem.  So we spent the last 24 hours feverishly screen-printing over 200 shiny biodegradable raincoats.

The day of the Carnival arrived, along with the rain & wind. The ponchos were a great hit and everyone wandered around with huge grins on their faces, dripping and flapping in the breeze like giant blue & yellow kites.

Kate

Drop in Art

Drop-in Art is a group who sketch and paint each Monday. Seven or eight of us come just about every week. Five or six others come every once in a while. It’s always nice to have a new member and new work to take pleasure in.

We enjoy plenty of light-hearted moments, though mostly we work pretty quietly. Participants inspire each other with their work and also just by being present. It’s helpful to have somebody to surprise and be surprised by.

Our teacher, Elizabeth Milsom, is an accomplished artist. She’s a good strong anchor for the class. She’s a real art-lover and her taste and knowledge is broad. She can look at a participant’s work and feel where it’s coming from and see where it might run into trouble. But she prefers to let people make their own decisions. She’s spent thousands of hours working as an artist and knows that we need to occasionally slip-up in order to learn.

We have a few self-confessed perfectionists. Liz has often said that it’s important to teach yourself to recognise when your sketch or painting is finished. It’s important to be able to see the qualities already there and not become fixated on what could have been done differently, or with more detail, or a slightly different colour, etc.

Watching the colours people choose and return to is interesting. One student loves a kind of January-sky-blue: she whips up these lovely slightly surreal beachscapes. Another paints flowers in flamboyant purples and lime and orange and the like. Her colour schemes are intuitive and a little bit inverted and very much her own. Another is good at blending her colours and she works with a kind of painstaking pleasure. She loves foreshores and clouds, different sunlights and shadows. She’s almost eighty and her love of the natural world is rock solid. That goes for all the women. There are two who always sit side-by-side and they bring a lot of feeling to their landscapes. What could be nicer than seeing a mature woman’s take on a mountain or the moon, or a river, or even just figures strolling in a park?

Sometimes people spend a lot of time on a piece. Other times somebody finishes something very quickly. One of the real mainstays of the group paints swiftly. Liz uses the word ‘painterly’ to describe his paintings. They’re lush and bold and they have a cool open-endedness. Another gent uses watercolours and seems to work pretty fast, too. Sometimes he’ll even slap a satirical slogan on, just for fun.

Overall, we have a good mix of steady-as-she-goes composition and spontaneity.

Sometimes people at Drop-In paint from photographs, or reproduce famous pictures. It surprised me how much enjoyment people derive working this way. I’m sure the famous painters’ ghosts give their blessing to a room full of friendly souls paying homage.

I’ve been working in the class two years as a disability support worker. I got a bit of a shock when I rediscovered how much I like sketching and in particular, painting. Like a lot of adults I’d not thought much about it since I was a kid. It’s very tactile and freeing. I like abstractions with lots of ambiguities and colours and it’s healthy to let your subconscious hold court for a couple of hours.

When you see how much good a class like this does, when you see how much enjoyment it yields, it does make you pine for a policy-maker with the conviction to make funding more emphatic.

James

English as Second Language class – Our Excursion

On Thursday 17 of March on St Patrick’s Day, the day when every Irish person is going to the pubs and drinking green beer, we – the group of ESL class from Port Melbourne had a meeting under the clocks at Flinders Station. It was 9.30 in the morning, there was six persons and two girl babies, around half a year old.

We went to the shopping centre of Southbank to see one of the famous places of Melbourne City with plenty of different sorts of Arts.

After that we went to the Yarra River Cruise Station and took a ferry to Williamstown. The ferry went through Docklands – the more picturesque part of modern Melbourne that we will see in the future in the next centuries. There are many skyscrapers with offices, shopping centers, new entities and a few water view domestic buildings, which cost more than 5 million dollars each. We went under the longest bridge in Melbourne, the Bolte Bridge which is the bad luck place for suicides.

The baby girls were sleeping, eating, glancing, smiling and crying and mammas were almost too busy to care, to feed them, they were looking around and speaking simultaneously.

The captain of the ferry had a speech about our 2-hour trip, but there was too many euphemisms and idioms that are the main problems in English for every immigrant.

After the trip was finished we went to the Chinese restaurant and had lunch. Our best language group trip ended with a walk around Federation Square.

By Zalman Shmeylin

Its never too late!

Working here at the Port Melbourne Neighbourhood House, one meets so many people from all walks of life.

We recently had an enquiry from a retired gentleman (78), who finally made up his mind to do a computer course. His motivating factor was that his family have all grown up and now communicate with each other via the net, instead of sending cards or letters. As a result, he decided to do something about it and enrolled in the Beginner’s Computer Course. It’s never too late and although all computer courses are now full, our team of volunteers will gladly help you with your enquiries for the first semester, 2012.

Our office hours are

Monday to Thursday 9.30 am to 4.30 pm

Friday 12.00 to 5.00 pm

Phone: 9645 14 76 Fax: 9645 4539

Don’t rain on my parade!

It is a well-known urban legend that Port Melbourne Neighbourhood House is cursed with rain every time we hold an outdoor event.  Two days before the 2008 Community carnival the forecast was for – you guessed it – flooding.  Convinced we were doomed, Joanna and I came up with the crazy idea to create colourful rain-ponchos with the Port Melbourne Neighbourhood House logo. We were convinced that if everyone was dry and covered in primary-coloured PMNH-branded plastic this would solve the problem.  So we spent the last 24 hours feverishly screen-printing over 200 shiny biodegradable raincoats.

The day of the Carnival arrived, along with the rain & wind. The ponchos were a great hit and everyone wandered around with huge grins on their faces, dripping and flapping in the breeze like giant blue & yellow kites.