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SBS partners with NSF to make learning English fun

By Fiona West | August 10, 2022
Students at Cabramatta college provided feedback on the content.

Navitas Skilled Futures has teamed up with SBS and WIRES on a new media project to help migrants learn about Australian wildlife while improving their English language skills.

The ‘Living with Aussie Wildlife’ project will be freely and publicly accessible from the SBS Learn English website, and will include videos, activities and worksheets relating to common Australian animals to help make learning English fun, practical, informative and entertaining.

Navitas Skilled Futures Learning Designer Michael Hill has been uniquely placed to work with SBS on the project, having once been a WIRES volunteer and a suburban/urban wildlife educator.

“A big part of settling into a new place or country is learning as much as you can about your new environment,” Michael said.

“This collaboration between Navitas, SBS and WIRES gives learners both knowledge and the language to talk about wildlife that they could very well encounter in their everyday lives.

“Hopefully, these resources will encourage our students, and others, to value, assist and protect our unique flora and fauna. I think this is a great collaboration and very worthwhile.”

NSF Learning Designer Michael Hill guides Cabramatta students through the worksheets.

The videos and worksheets were recently trialled in NSF classrooms across South West Sydney and Canberra colleges, with student feedback helping refine the content and associated learning materials. The final content is expected to be available on SBS Learn English in multiple languages next month.

SBS is one of the world’s most diverse media organisations, servicing more than 60 languages and providing vital information to assist new migrants to settle into everyday life.

SBS Learn English Program Manager Janine Googan said understanding Australian animals, and what to do when encountering them, was important for all Australians, but particularly relevant for new migrants who might not have any prior experience with our unique wildlife.

“The Living with Aussie Wildlife project enables our audience to learn about common Australian animals and improve their English at the same time,” Janine said.

“SBS are committed to working with industry to reach our audiences wherever they are and we are thrilled to partner with both Navitas Skilled Futures and WIRES on this project.

“Navitas Skilled Futures have a track record of providing authentic and interesting content for their students. We’ve created and tested this content with them to ensure that learners will really enjoy using these new resources.”

SBS representatives attended two student testing sessions at Fairfield and Cabramatta last week, in which students watched videos on koalas and Australian spiders and completed worksheets with the help and direction of their teachers.

View this post on the SBS Learn English Facebook page:

Michael Hill said the students gave valuable feedback and enjoyed being part of the process to not only learn about Australian wildlife, but to help create engaging and accessible learning materials for others.

“From my experience volunteering with WIRES, I learnt that there are a lot of misconceptions out there around our native birds and animals and our interactions with them – the dangers they pose, the impacts we have on them and their habitats and what we can do to help them both in the immediate sense, when coming across an injured animal, and in the broader sense of living in harmony with them,” Michael said.

Fairfield Youth Class enjoyed providing their thoughts on the content for the project.

“Over the years I have had opportunities to work on projects with the Ethnic Communities Council and local governments to help educate new arrivals about our suburban/urban wildlife and have always noted how students are fascinated by and eager to learn about Australia’s unique wildlife.”

The Living with Aussie Wildlife project will focus on ten types of animals, including koalas, spiders, snakes, magpies, kookaburras, and possums.

The project will be launched at Navitas Skilled Futures Fairfield in early September.

Videos are accompanied by worksheets to improve English while learning about Australian wildlife.

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