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YanQiu Hao has been working hard to improve her English by attending classes and extra tutoring. When her teacher told her about Hamilton’s new English as a Second Language (ESL) Week Contest, she knew she wanted to take part in it.
“I wanted to practise my English language skills and [the contest] is a very good way to develop writing skills,” she said.

English learners across Hamilton submitted writing pieces and visual art in various categories drawing on their experiences learning a new language and settling in a new country. Winners gathered at the Freeway Café on November 5 to receive their awards, which included a certificate and financial stipend.

With a piece entitled, “Enjoy my English Class,” Hao won the Level 6/7 Writing category. She commented on her experience: “I was so surprised to win! I appreciate the chance to show my writing skills, as I’ve learned so much from my teacher and tutor.”

“Students were pleased to have their voice heard and use
the skills that they have learned.”

Hao was not alone in her experience; eleven learners also won awards at the event.

“Students were pleased to have their voice heard and use the skills that they have learned,” said Audrey Beaulne, English Teacher at the Immigrant Women’s Centre. “They chose topics and submitted what was interesting to them.”

The event was planned by Teachers of English as a Second Language Hamilton-Wentworth, a committee interested in hosting more events for English as Second Language learners across the city. The first of its kind in Hamilton, the event celebrated ESL Week, which was on November 4 – 10.

“We wanted to do something that would bring people together,” continued Beaulne. “This allows us to give recognition to people from different English levels as well as
show each other what is happening at different schools.”

TESL Hamilton-Wentworth aims to hold more ESL-centred events in the future that will continue to build collaboration and involvement among schools across the city.

Article by Michelle Drew 

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