09.”We’re all one together”, Werribee Community Education Centre.


The Werribee Community and Education Centre
in Victoria offers a wide range of ACE programs. From disengaged youth obtaining
their year 11 certificate, to Burmese women with
a refugee camp history. Or new Australians learning English. ACE or Adult Community Education
is able to look at the whole person. And it’s able to see
what that person needs. It’s able to integrate formal learning
and informal learning. And it places a lot of importance
on the informal learning as being an integral part of what
they learn in the formal classroom. The year 11 group helps
young adults who dropped out of formal education. We also take into account
their private lives, not only their academic abilities.
And we’re able to work with that, to actually create that whole person. In this course, computer
games are used to teach English. One of the largest is language
and literacy, through the Language, Literacy and Numeracy Program.
We have nearly 260 clients in that, mainly from a refugee background. The students are learning
very basic computer skills, but the focus is on
learning English, so speaking, listening, reading and
writing using the computer as a tool. Most students went
to school in a refugee camp. I come from a refugee background,
I lived in a refugee camp for about 20 years. We all are one together.
We learn from one another. Right next door, Burmese women
improve their English while cooking
for the community centre. People directly ask them,
what have you been cooking, what is this dish. So it challenges
them in a very different way rather than just going shopping
or taking the children to school. The course leads to an
accredited certificate. They do get Food Safety
Level I Handlers Certificate. I come from Burma, my parents
moved into Thailand. I started living in the camp.
24 years in the camp. I learn more English.
More conversation. There’s a trust. They may
not be too confident. So I don’t think that
in a bigger place they would have an
opportunity to do something like that. The Adult Community Education Centre
has a strong variety of programs. It teaches people how to
grow inside their own community. Mutual respect actually,
it’s very important. And regardless whether people
speak English or not, body language and a
smile goes a long way.

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