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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 4. 2014–2015: ‘Severe and multiple deprivation’ and the ESOL Research Forum (Philippa Grimes)

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Philippa Grimes

Vignette 42014–2015: ‘Severe and multiple deprivation’ and the ESOL Research Forum

Whilst working for South and City College, Birmingham (UK), in the Bordesley Green area, during the 2014–2015 academic year, I identified that several adult ESOL students in my classes needed additional support with their literacy skills in order to succeed during their time at college. No formal help was forthcoming, however, due to a lack of funding. Eventually, a sympathetic ESOL manager volunteered to give my students in-class assistance. It was wonderful to see the difference this made to the students. I was surprised to see the almost magical effect of having someone sitting by them and giving them the courage to set pen to paper. Unfortunately this help was only available for a few weeks.

Feeling that I was out of my depths trying to deal with the students in this class, I decided to see what advice colleagues from the ESOL Research Forum could offer.1 I have been a member of the ESOL Research Forum for ten years now; it was founded in 2006 and is managed by Dr James Simpson of the School of Education, University of Leeds, UK. On the forum, researchers and practitioners come together to discuss a wide variety of ESOL-related topics via email. Sometimes we discuss news articles or government policies. At other times, someone might recommend a new book or website. As far as I can tell, members are mostly from...

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