By Dianne Rooney | Posted: Saturday November 30, 2013

This year in response to a growing number of new migrant students enrolling at Logan Park High School, a contract was signed to be part of an exciting new online English learning course (ELLINZ).

Twice a week the class signs in to a live online lesson with their E Teacher and for the 6 other periods they work with their E Tutor in the E classroom doing all sorts of follow up work. The E classroom has links to an online library (RAZ kids), Spell City, a vocab learning website and Voice Thread where they can practise their listening and speaking. This year has seen the class complete 3 modules concluding with a series of student assessments focusing on the key areas of learning English – reading, writing, speaking and listening. The first module, “All About Us”, involved creating online profiles, including individual photos, similar to Face Book. The students were able to send messages and make friends with other students on the programme from all around New Zealand. The second module began with writing about food from their countries, creating a series of slides and speaking on voice thread. After that they had to design a healthy food product. To do these tasks they had to learn about the technological process, a lot of new vocab and create a series of power point slides which were placed in the E Classroom. The third module focused on reading and listening to other people’s journeys to New Zealand and then the students created their own recounts. They learnt about using time markers, conjunctions and what constitutes a good recount. Finally they created their individual slides.

Student feedback was positive – some enjoyed using voice thread because they like speaking; they learned a lot of new words using the vocab programme and RAZ Kids Reading; were able to now use time markers, longer sentences and conjunctions and their spelling and writing were better. A couple of the students had never used a computer until they came to Logan Park but they are now as computer literate as any other Kiwi student. They are all immensely proud of their achievements this year and are setting learning goals for next year.  

In a country like New Zealand we sometimes take education for granted. Tinait came to Logan Park High School last year with hardly any English. This is a recount of her journey to New Zealand.

My Journey From Sudan to New Zealand – by Tinait Solomon

My name is Tinait Solomon. I came from Ethiopia a country in the horn of Africa. We left in February 2012 when I was 20 years old and took most of my family with me. I only went to school when I was 11 years old in the Sudan because I didn’t go to school in Ethiopia. We left Ethiopia because my Dad died and my Mum was on her own. My Mum came to Sudan to give us a better life. We left Sudan because Mum couldn’t earn enough money to live there and my Grandmother was in New Zealand. Also I wanted to study there. So we left Sudan and came to New Zealand which was exciting.

First we travelled by bus through Khartoum in Sudan then we flew by plane to Bangkok. I felt very scared on the plane because I had never been on a plane before in my life. In Bangkok we got lost and didn’t understand the language. We stopped for an hour and a half then we flew on a plane to Singapore but we didn’t like the food on the plane. Then we went to Malaysia and from there we travelled by plane to Auckland. After three days or 72 hours we got a plane to Christchurch. There were about 35 people on the plane which was very exciting. First, I listened to some music and then I watched a movie on the plane. My Grandmother and Aunt and Uncle who live in Christchurch were at the airport to meet us. They drove us to their house. We were very happy to see our family after such a long time. We lived in my Grandmother’s house for one month and we had a really great time but after one month we moved to Dunedin.

On the bus there were about 30 people. The bus trip was amazing. I remember seeing sheep, cows and lots of grass. We were glad to meet my Aunt and her husband when we got there. They helped us to get a house in Dunedin because when we came we didn’t speak any English.

We were all very excited when we came to New Zealand. Now I live with my sisters, Mum and brother. I didn’t speak any English when I first came to New Zealand but now I am learning English at school in New Zealand. I have learnt lots now. I really like New Zealand and I am very happy here but I miss my country and my friends. I remember when we were all together and I still think about them. I hope to go back one day.

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