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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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Case study 2. Volunteer teachers working together: A refugee support group case study (Siân Etherington)

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Siân Etherington

Case study 2Volunteer teachers working together: A refugee support group case study

abstract

This case study describes an English language conversation class taking place at a refugee support group based in a large town in the north west of England. The refugee group is well established, running for over fifteen years, having been set up to provide practical support and friendship to refugees within the borough in the early 2000s. The group is run by volunteers, with some financial support from local authorities and churches. They provide a weekly drop-in for refugees, which includes, among other services, an ESOL conversation class. The conversation class is led by university student volunteers in academic term-time, and by local volunteer teachers in vacation periods. The case study aims to provide a general description of the conversation class, bringing together perspectives from different participants involved: student volunteer teachers, other community-based volunteer teachers, and the refugee learners. These viewpoints were collected through conversations and written submissions from participants in each group. In presenting their views, the case study attempts to explore some of the tensions and opportunities within the situation and to move towards a fuller and deeper understanding of how the teaching and learning of ESOL emerges within this context. Some implications and wider lessons from the case are discussed in the final sections.

Refugee support group and conversation class

The refugee support group runs sessions each Saturday lunchtime for refugees...

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