TAFE Queensland and local community radio station Fraser Coast FM 107.5 have teamed up to record a podcast that gives students of the Adult Migrant English Program (AMEP) and Skills for Education and Employment (SEE) Program the chance to improve their English skills in a meaningful and real life context.
The Australian Government funded AMEP provides up to 510 hours of free English language tuition to eligible migrants from the skilled, family and humanitarian visa streams to help them learn English to assist with their settlement in Australia. Similarly, the SEE program offers up to 800 hours of free language, literacy and numeracy training to eligible jobseekers.
TAFE Queensland Language Teacher Julianne Watson said the podcast titled ‘Let’s call Australia home’, was about allowing students to share the milestones and successes that they are achieving both in language and settling into Australia, while providing them with a platform for using English in a real and exciting situation.
"This is really about our students helping new arrivals settle into Australia and share what is available to them in the community, while giving them the chance to share a bit of their culture with the rest of the world in return," Ms Watson said.
"We may only get 10 listeners, but if it gives our students a voice and encourages them to take pride in their achievements by sharing what they’ve learned, then it’s worth it."
Though students are not assessed on the podcast, Ms Watson said it was proving to be an effective training tool that helps students contextualise what they learn in the classroom.
"There are five segments in the show broken up by music from around the world, which students introduce and explain the meaning of," Ms Watson said.
"The segments include messages students record in their native language for their family, interviewing community members such as past students turned business owners or representatives from the local neighbourhood centre to discuss the contributions they make to Australia and the lives of other migrants, and using English to teach the host something about their home country," she said.
Thirty students will record eight podcasts from TAFE Queensland’s Hervey Bay campus on a rotating roster using equipment provided by Fraser Coast FM 107.5. Presenter at the station, Jeff Mitchell has been a volunteer tutor for TAFE Queensland’s AMEP for a year and said he jumped at the chance to help bring the podcast to life after a student with past experience in radio pitched the idea.
"I have a real passion for radio and teaching English so this seemed like a natural pairing to me," Mr Mitchell said.
"I want these students to know how well they are doing, how valued they are, and what services are available to them. It’s also a great opportunity to show how migrants coming to Australia do integrate — they do learn to speak English — and we can learn something from them."
The ‘Let’s call Australia home’ podcast will be available through the Fraser Coast FM 107.5 webpage, with the first episodes available now.
To find out more about TAFE Queensland's Language and Literacy Services visit tafeqld.edu.au or call 1300 308 233.