The Scalabrini Centre relies heavily on the assistance of volunteers for the running of its various programmes. Amongst these programmes is the English School which is dedicated to providing English language training for refugees, migrants, and asylum seekers to promote empowerment, integration, and student success.
The English School curriculum was developed specifically for Scalabrini clients, and thematically organised to assist clients with integration in Cape Town. The curriculum is divided into 10 levels, from Beginners to Advanced, and a placement test is used to determine the appropriate level for each client. Additionally, the English Alive co-curricular programme offers activities such as Drama, Spelling, Debating, and Pronunciation.
The volunteers who teach and tutor at the English School hail from both South Africa and abroad, and range in age from matriculants to pensioners. One of these volunteers is Franck Steve Adou, a qualified teacher by profession and native French speaker, who has taught the Level 1 English course for two years.
Speaking on his experience as an English School teacher, Franck noted that the best way for a teacher to design a lesson is to think about the material “as if he were the student.” He went on to add that in order to be successful as an English School teacher, you need to be empathetic; you must “identify and put yourself in the other person’s shoes. You must be able to struggle over the language barrier with them.”
The Scalabrini Centre prides itself on providing a safe and welcoming space. Echoing the same sentiments, Franck further went on to encourage others to come volunteer their time and services at the Centre, adding that for him, “volunteering is an act of love. It is all about the passion.”
Mr. Adou qualified as a teacher in 2010, and when he is not volunteering at Scalabrini he offers private lessons in both English and French.