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Learning English is Like Learning How to Ride a Bike

Recently my daughter has learnt to ride her bike, it’s an interesting journey learning a new skill. Firstly, it was about balance and ensuring she stayed upright. Now it’s about mastering that skill. I realised that staying upright wasn’t enough when she flew down a bridge into some men fishing and she didn’t know how to stop. Knowing how to stop matters.

Maybe you know someone who learned English after moving to Australia and had to pick up the balancing act along the way? Later, on the ride with my daughter, an elderly gentleman walked past us and told my daughter to “just keep peddling”. He was right. One of the skills to develop in learning a language is to just keep trying and keep giving it a go, even if you skin your knees occasionally.

However, when you are working professionally in an environment requiring use of your second language, mastery matters. You need to feel comfortable and confident to use the new language. Like my daughter, learning how to brake, turn and negotiate roads. There are different levels of skill sets you need to develop when using English in a business context. Sometimes people can be confident in one skill, like speaking, but still struggle listening. Meetings can become overwhelming because Australian’s often speak fast.

When there are so many skills to develop along the way for people with English as a second language here at ESLTS we take into consideration that people learn at their own pace. Nobody learns how to ride a bike, play the piano or dance at the same pace. We want to ensure your staff build their English language learning skills to the point where they are confident speaking, listening, reading and writing. Like riding a bike. Easy, when you know how.

The tricky part sometimes is unlearning bad habits, using the correct language and pronunciation at the right time. Learning these sensitivities is a journey and we want to ensure people are comfortable and confident when delivering presentations in their second language.

If you feel that your staff have not yet mastered English and you are already the employer or HR Manager, we are here to help. We will complete a comprehensive ‘Needs Analysis’ and then design a plan specifically for your staff. Get in touch with us for more information. We will have them riding with no hands in no time.

Elizabeth Stennett
Program Director ESL Tutoring Services