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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 6. The learners that publishers forgot (Kathryn Aldridge-Morris)

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Kathryn Aldridge-Morris

Vignette 6The learners that publishers forgot1

Background

It’s around June that online ESOL forums start buzzing with requests for advice about teaching materials for September, and the same frustrations come to the surface year after year – while there are a handful of dedicated go-to ESOL resources, most coursebooks are for EFL, and there’s nothing that really hits the spot. Around 4.2 million people in the UK live in households where English is not the main language, according to the 2011 Census, and nearly 1 million speak either a little English or none at all. Thousands of migrants are learning English in the UK and in other English-speaking countries, and thousands more are learning in refugee camps across Europe. The English Language Teaching (ELT) volunteers working in those camps need materials to help people learn an international language with which to communicate basic needs. Asylum seekers also recognise that they could be uprooted and deported at any moment, and that English is vital as a lingua franca.

Some publishers have spotted the UK market and have mapped their EFL content to the Adult ESOL Core Curriculum,2 not just to the CEFR←361 | 362→ levels. This is a good move. Hard-pressed teachers working in Further Education (FE) institutions are required to produce reams of paperwork with schemes of work mapped to this curriculum and they are looking for mapped coursebooks. In some FE colleges the distinction between ESOL and EFL has...

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