A Lifelong Pursuit of Knowledge

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Do you believe in the saying, "You're never too old to learn?"

At the end of August, Chung Wah Community Care's (Chung Wah CC) Evergreen College concluded with a full academic year of delightful learning. Following the last English lesson at the Balcatta Community Hub, the tutor, Margaret, awarded certificates to the students, praising their tenacity for having participated in the English course over the past 12 months. The students also expressed gratitude for Margaret's patient instruction and encouragement.

According to the latest census data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS), about 3.4% of Australia's population (872,000 individuals) are not fluent in English or don't speak it at all. Over 30% of this segment are individuals aged 65 or older, amounting to approximately 266,000 individuals. Among every 4 Mandarin speakers, one struggles with English, with a quarter of them being 65 or older.

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Mr Li said, "Upon arriving in Australia, I felt mute and deaf; I couldn't speak or understand English. I refused to remain silent, which motivated my endeavour to learn English."

Ms Gao remarked, "To live long is to learn long. Lifelong learning is a generational trend. Learning English helps exercise my memory, fend off cognitive decline, and prevent dementia."

Ms Zhang, driven by her innate curiosity, expressed, "I'm eager to learn just about anything. Whether I master it is another story. Learning English adds an interesting dimension to understanding Australian culture."

"Regardless of the students' motivations to learn, teaching English to the seniors requires immense patience. Our curriculum primarily focuses on spoken and oral comprehension," Margaret shared. She educates her students on basic English, including commonly used words and everyday phrases. "The key to mastering spoken English is to be bold in speaking, coupled with repeated practice. This is the way to not only remember but also effectively use the language." Under Margaret's positive encouragement, the students have come to relish the joy of learning English. They've grown bolder, unafraid of potential embarrassment, and more confidently engage in English conversations. Indeed, conversing in English isn't as daunting as it was once perceived. Margaret and her students eagerly look forward to the new academic year, to continue learning and to find joy in the journey.

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Chung Wah has been servicing the WA community since 1909, dedicated to improving the quality of life of individuals from diverse backgrounds. Moreover, Chung Wah CC has over 35 years of professional care experience helping seniors and people with disability improve their well-being and better integrate into the community. In 2023, we're promoting our theme, "Embrace, Elevate & Flourish", and build a better community for all.

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