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Setting Clear Goals The First Step to Learning English

Have you ever travelled to another country and felt utterly lost and isolated because you didn’t speak the local language? That’s how newcomers feel leaving their homes to create a new life here in Canada.

Some may know a tiny amount of English, others none. Bridges English Language School offers a specialized approach to learning English.
Laura Castillo is its creator and an English as a second language teacher. She has seen firsthand the challenges newcomers face when learning English, creating the school to improve learning to ensure no one falls through the cracks.

“The first step I always take is to have a one-on-one interview with the student/client. It’s very important to see where their short-term goal is. I’ve noticed, in general, people talk about goals very loosely. These goals need to be implemented in a way that leads them on a journey toward what their final goal is.”

Castillo approaches learning by focusing on the student’s first priority, avoiding jumping ahead and concentrating on the end goal and the steps to get there. One example would be if the student were looking for a job.

“If their first priority is to find a job, then we prepare them with the language needed to find an entry-level position.”

These first steps are a conversation, and Castillo says many newcomers will be under the impression they will be able to go to university or acquire a high executive position within a few months to a year. However, that may only sometimes be the case, as even if they took English before arriving in Canada, they might be caught off-guard by how English is utilized here.

“They find that the speed is different, and the accent might differ. They really need to work on adjusting and learning how to settle within our community.”

Once that priority has been met, they can set their next goal and achieve it, and programs and studies can be chosen to reach that next goal.

When working or having a family, studying and doing assignments from home can be incredibly hectic—finding the space, quiet, and time to sit down and focus. Bridges English Language School provides the flexibility newcomers need to find success. Another boon of these programs is the small class sizes, allowing greater attention to each student, which Castillo hasn’t seen within her work.

“From my experience in various positions, language classes are too big.

– Ryan Funk, U Multicultural

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of U Multicultural.

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