Learning English as a speaker of another language can be difficult. Fortunately, there are a plethora of resources available to assist in your journey to English proficiency, many of which can be accessed from the comfort of your own home. These online resources range from generic lessons to more specific tutored opportunities to suit your personal requirements.
English Class Resources
New Zealand government websites provide information on a range of ESOL classes, ranging from casual to formal. On their website they also mention a regular radio programme on Planet FM which can improve your desired skills slowly and runs for 30 minutes each time. The Citizens Advice Bureau (CAB) includes further information regarding English courses in Canterbury. Any issues in finding a suitable course are actively resolved and merely require a call to the Tertiary Education Commission whose number is provided on the aforementioned government webpage. An interactive page allows you to view different locations for ESOL classes on a map, including Christchurch, and filter them depending on whether you are trying to learn on a permanent or part time basis. Resources on the same webpage also include videos, articles, and stories.
Another great resource to keep in mind is the power of flashcards – these handy little study tools can be borrowed from a previously created set on websites such as Quizlet (or almost any quizzing site) and stored on your phone for whenever you’re not busy. Alternatively, you can spend time creating your own flashcards to commit words to memory through muscle memory and without having to pay to access them offline. These are some of the most convenient learning tools and can even store facts you are trying to remember regarding other topics.
English Courses Available in Christchurch
English Language Partners New Zealand offers some fantastic resources for those of you hoping to improve your English. Fortunately, this group even has a Christchurch based office so you don’t have to worry about those hours spent on hold that makes half the day disappears into the abyss of nothingness – the same place procrastination also seems to go. Neither of these is helpful in learning English online. Located on Manchester street, this physical address in Christchurch Central City means it is easy to access from almost any point in Christchurch (as long as you can find a park!). Alternatively, they are still available via phone or through other contact methods meaning they are an email away with opening hours of 9am-4pm Monday to Thursday or, if you felt like dragging yourself awake on a Friday, they will be open for a few hours from 9am until noon. Courses are even free for citizens and residents, although as these are for everyone, they are less personalised.
Contacting any organisation you are interested in is always a good idea as it means they can help you in finding the perfect course catered to your current skill level and goals.
If you’re more of a do-it-yourself type, there are plenty of resources that you can access online. These are best suited for people who already have a basic understanding of some English but would like to improve their pronunciation and vocabulary. Christchurch City Libraries offers a wide range of books which you can pop online to reserve or, if you really have reached the peak of laziness (we’ve all been there…), then there are a ton of eBooks and online material you can access straight from your device without leaving that comfy chair.
If you can muster the energy to enter the outside world, there are also plenty of in-person courses. Canterbury University offers just one of these, and while it may be on the more expensive side, the small class sizes and experienced professors ensure the learning is well worth the money if you’re aiming for perfection. Braving the great outdoors also offers many free opportunities to practice your new (or old) skills. It is rare for someone in New Zealand to not have any English tucked under their belt and every interaction counts – be it a friendly conversation with a passer-by or simple, everyday small chat with shopkeepers to reinforce what you know. Practice is crucial to maintaining and building skills and is especially useful when used alongside services such as Superprof.
The New Zealand Ministry of Education website even has a specific section for ESOL learners. Further to increasing your skills, this has information about the general community which can help to keep you motivated with the knowledge you’re not alone in your learning journey, no matter what stage you are at. Quarterly news updates are also available on the government website if you’re keen on keeping up with changes regarding ESOL.
If in doubt, it is always a good idea to find a site that strikes your fancy and flick the co-ordinator, individual, or company a message describing where you are at and what you are looking for so they can offer helpful advice.
Superprof offers a wide range of tutors for online courses, including ESOL. Using this service is super beneficial as it allows you to practice and advance through an individualised learning experience which accelerates your progress significantly. Each tutor has different strengths and, after reviewing each summary provided by individual tutors, you may select one at your leisure that best resonates with your own learning style.
Options in Schools
Intermediate and secondary students may have access to different sources. Whether this applies to you, or children you may have, it is definitely worth enquiring at individual schools to see what services they may provide regarding this. Some may be better catered for students requiring ESOL education while others may be eligible for funded programmes they are not aware of, such as the Learning Village New Zealand. Many schools even have systems in place that involve peer tutoring. This is a great option for younger students to expand their contacts and make friends or at least learn in a somewhat less intimidating environment compared to traditional, formal teaching methods.
While paid courses can be fantastic, some may be concerned about the fragile budget of student life. If this is you, or if you are generally unsure about how well lessons will fit in with your spending patterns, consistent subscription payment options are available on several online websites. This means you don’t have to commit and can cancel at any time, having only spent money for your desired length of time. If you find the lessons to be just what you’re looking for, it will then be easy to keep paying for as long as you would like – just remember to take notes in case the material you have access to disappears when your subscription is eventually cancelled.
English teachers for speakers of other languages are available on other platforms as well. The aforementioned English Language Partners also offer home tutors for class or work alongside their online courses. In addition to this, there are sites such as ‘Job Search’ where anyone can create an advertisement that they are looking for a tutor, although websites such as Superprof save the hassle of filling out extensive forms to publish your request online. ‘Perfectly Spoken’ is a website less specific to Christchurch, but offers a free trial and effective lessons with different focuses. These include improving vocabulary and professional skills to develop your ability to handle important interactions such as meetings. Tests and paid ‘pro’ versions are also available which awards you with a certificate acknowledging your achievement upon completion.
Several online apps can also be helpful for learning on-the-go as a mobile means to learn wherever you are. Of these, two of the most well-known ones that you can trust are Duolingo and Babbel. Features of these range from audio to visual and take you through new languages step by step – with far more than just English – just in case you get hooked on learning more. Even beginners can manage the workload too. Many options cater for different lifestyles so you can choose how much time you dedicate to your ESOL learning journey from just a few minutes a day, to a few hours; consistency is key and where true progress occurs because with repetition it is more likely to stick in your brain. Practice makes perfect!
Overall, learning English as a speaker of another language is easy to pursue in Christchurch, whether you want to visit a physical location, or practice from the comfort of your own home. It is best to first develop an idea of how much you are willing to spend. Many free resources are available as a great starting point, however for a more comprehensive understanding of English it may be worth spending some money to reap greater rewards. Either way, practice and repetition are key to learning any language and are emphasised in all English classes to help the new information to enter your long term memory. Learning a language is also incredibly self-motivated so it may be worthwhile setting yourself a daily goal, just as Duolingo does, along with a little reward to keep you going.
Tutors are one of the best ways to hold yourself accountable while also receiving individualised attention with lessons catered to your personal learning style. Superprof offer this service while also allowing you the flexibility to peruse the descriptions provided by each tutor to choose whoever you feel would best suit your educational journey to excellent English.