A Hotline story

A Hotline story

A real strength of the Hotline is the diversity of its callers. This week Tom (not his real name) contacted us. He doesn’t have any problems with the technical aspects of reading or writing but has trouble finding the right tone when he communicates. Using social media and speaking on the phone is particularly difficult.

Tom’s parents are migrants, and he went to a rural school. Though his only language is English it was hard for him to access the cultural nuances of the language. Questions at school were often ridiculed.

“Now it’s a real struggle to try and “get the tone right” and I’m just not sure what to do, because most courses are targeted at people who are new to English. I don’t have another language. It’s just a struggle to try and get hired or anything really, even just talking to customers at work was always very difficult… Please help.”

The Hotline was able to refer Tom to a qualified volunteer tutor and to some local TAFE programs. Most importantly we could reassure Tom that he is not alone in this situation, and it is not his fault. The Hotline has talked to many people around Australia who say a similar thing; and to children of migrants and refugees who have also expressed this frustration.

Tom’s story makes it clear that adult literacy encompasses a range of literacies for different contexts in our society.  We need a diverse range of literacy for the diversity of adult learners.