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Manchester, Lancs, United Kingdom, 2007/02/17 - Manchester language school announces lessons to those on unemployment benefits in a move to highlight contradiction in UK government policy.
In a move designed to highlight UK government policy experts say “doesn’t add up” a Manchester English language school is offering free lessons to help improve the language skills of the local workforce.
The unprecedented move comes after the A2Z Language School in Manchester’s Northern quarter decided that it could no longer tolerate ministers' hypocrisy.
According to government figures about 40,000 jobless people are unable to work because of a poor level of English. Now the government is warning that unemployment benefits could be cut for those who refuse to learn English.
James Taylor, Director of the A2Z School of English says this policy is not the answer.
“Sure, it’s a good thing the welfare minister, Jim Murphy, is placing greater emphasis put on tackling the language barrier,” Taylor said. “However cutting benefits because jobless people do not achieve the desired level could prove counter productive in the short term, further damaging the prospects of jobless people. What we want to do is get students into our school, show them an effective way of learning practical English fast, thus enabling them to integrate more quickly into the local workforce. Offering free introductory lessons is a good way of doing this.”
The A2Z School of English (a2z-english.com) uses the revolutionary Callan Method of teaching English. Invented by Robin Callan the method revolves around quick-fire oral question and answer work designed to teach English in a quarter of the time.
Taylor says: “This means by using the Callan Method we can get jobless people speaking an acceptable level of English, and back into work, four times as fast as conventional language schools. He [Murphy] wants the same thing we want; only we are taking practical steps to ensure it happens at a local level.”
The Callan Method uniquely uses aspects of mime and performance to mimic then correct a student’s pronunciation, effectively ‘dragging’ correct English out of a student—a technique proponent’s claim rapidly increases proficiency in both the spoken and written form.
“It sounds a bit ‘school-masterish’ if you describe it like that,” said Taylor. “But that’s the essence of the method. It’s actually an extremely fun and effective way to learn a language, and because it is a ‘direct method’ a student actually starts to think in English. Once reaching that level of proficiency the prospects of employment for a jobless person are dramatically improved.”
To receive free lessons at the A2Z School of English email your answer to the following question: Do you think the government ‘speak English’ policy is fair? Yes/No’.
The first five emails received will be enrolled by 20th March.