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ESOL Provision in the UK and Ireland: Challenges and Opportunities

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Edited By Freda Mishan

Situated within the context of unprecedented levels of inward migration to the UK and Ireland bringing with it all the complexities of integration, this volume focuses on a key aspect of this - language provision. Through the voices of stakeholders in the field of teaching English to speakers of other languages (ESOL), this volume critically examines models of language provision and integration, the relationship between language and identity, developing ESOL practices and ESOL policy. A distinctive feature is the diversity of contributions, ranging from research studies to vignettes presenting living portraits of ESOL practice on the ground. The volume fills an urgent gap in this area, offering a snapshot of the ‘state of the art’ of ESOL in the UK and Ireland and projections of how the needs of new migrants can be addressed into the future.

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Vignette 1. 2016–2017: Creating an identity: ‘Can I put “diamond trader” on my CV?’ (what it really means to migrate to the UK through Calais) (Philippa Grimes)

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Philippa Grimes

Vignette 1 2016–2017: Creating an identity: ‘Can I put “diamond trader” on my CV?’ (what it really means to migrate to the UK through Calais)

Shortly before Christmas 2017 I began to teach a class of ESOL Entry 1 and Entry 2 students who were all looking for work in the inner-city area of Bordesley Green, Birmingham, UK. Over the years, I have taught hundreds of students who were hoping to find work, but this class was different. As I taught them over a period of three months, I slowly discovered more about them.

The first thing I noticed about these students was that nearly all of them were constantly fidgeting and could hardly bear to stay seated. (One of the most distressed students was an Afghani refugee who was missing a hand.) My first challenge was to get them to stay in class from beginning to end, concentrate on the lesson and remain seated when necessary. Drawing on the training I have received over the years and from my current employer, I did this by introducing routine, interest, hope and variety. The ‘routine’ was, for example, weekly spelling tests. The ‘interest’ included Smartboard grammar and vocabulary games to re-enforce learning. The ‘hope’ was use of simplified fables and modern stories of kindness and forgiveness, with plenty of associated ‘DARTs’ (Directed Activities Related to Texts). For the variety, I racked my brains for kinaesthetic activities, and came up with, amongst...

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