Senior student teaches English for free

September 13, 2022 - 09:06
Nguyễn Phan Thiên Lãm's free online English classes have attracted hundreds of students and teachers who don't have enough money to learn at English centres.
Nguyễn Phan Thiên Lãm teaching one of his classes. — Photo

HCM CITY — Nguyễn Phan Thiên Lãm's free online English classes have attracted hundreds of students and teachers who don't have enough money to learn at English centres.

At exactly 7pm, Dương Thị Phi Tuyết, a second-year student of Duy Tân University in Đà Nẵng, opened her computer to log in to the online free English class called HEPI by Lãm. So far, after 12 online lessons, Tuyết has been able to communicate in basic English.

"I don't have the conditions to attend courses at the English centre. Last June, while surfing Facebook, I found out and signed up for HEPI class," said Tuyết. "During the study, Lãm and the people in charge of the class were very enthusiastic. I believe that after finishing 36 lessons, my English communication skills will be better. I also plan to enrol in their advanced English class after finishing the basic course."

La Tuyết Nhi, now an accountant of a company in Thủ Đức City in HCM City, said: "I used to take an online English course when I was a final year student at the University of Economics and Law because my jobs required it. However, my English ability at that time was not good, especially in communication. So, after being introduced by my friends, I signed up for an advanced online English course. After 36 lessons, I can now speak fluently."

"Lãm and his colleagues were very enthusiastic. Each learning topic is designed in detail. First, we learn vocabulary and exchange and comment on a related issue. Besides, there are game sessions in English. This learning model is significant, and if you need to learn English but don't have enough money to study at the centre, you can participate." Nhi said.

The free online English class was established by Nguyễn Phan Thiên Lãm and a club called Student's Tavern in March 2021. Participants are students with difficult circumstances. At first, the class was established offline in Thủ Đức University Village in HCM City. One month later, because of the complicated COVID-19 epidemic, the class switched to remote learning.

During the teaching process, Lãm realised that online learning would make it more accessible for many students across the country, so it has been maintained. After more than 1 year of operation, his classes have attracted more than 600 students.

Coming from the poor countryside in Ninh Thuận Province, Lãm was not exposed to English from a young age. He did not realise the importance of English until he was in university. However, because he did not have the conditions to register for classes in centres, Lãm learned English independently.

During his studies, Lãm was fortunate to have a close acquaintance with a friend from England. Thanks to regular communication with the friend and his efforts, Lãm's English improved daily. Entering the third year of university, Lãm can communicate fluently and works as an English tutor for elementary, middle, and high school students.

"Because my family could not afford it, when I entered university, I did not ask for financial help from them. Rather, I tried to find a job to cover my living expenses and pay tuition fees," said Lãm.

"Indeed, for students with difficult circumstances like me, it is tough to pay for tuition fees and daily expenses, let alone spend some more money to study an English course. From that fact, I cooperated with my friends in the club to set up a free English class for students with difficult circumstances."

Many students also asked to volunteer and support Lãm's teaching. Currently, Lãm has 15 volunteers to help him teach the class. In each lesson, Lãm and the volunteers try to teach passionately, motivating and encouraging learners to appreciate and love learning more and more.

Lãm's class is divided into two levels: basic English learning on Monday, Wednesday and Friday and advanced course studying on Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday. In the basic class, learners start with basic topics such as pronunciation, vocabulary, and grammar and practise communication about family, self-introduction, shopping, and asking for directions.

Advanced classes will specialise in communication topics such as technology, health, environment, and energy. At the end of the advanced course, students will choose a topic to research and then give a presentation to teachers to assess their level after the course.

"What made me feel good is that through each course, learners' English communication skills have improved remarkedly. In particular, seeing the significance of the class, many learners after completing the course also volunteered to teach, support the class and introduce more friends to know and register for the class," Lãm said. — VNS