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ESOL Provision in the UK and Ireland: Challenges and Opportunities


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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Conclusion. ESOL provision in the UK and Ireland: Challenges and opportunities (Freda Mishan)


Freda Mishan

ConclusionESOL provision in the UK and Ireland: Challenges and opportunities

The very varied contributions to this volume succeed in plotting ESOL provision on the socio-political map of the UK and Republic Ireland at a unique place in time with immigration at levels unprecedented since the Second World War. The picture presented – differences in approach and geographical situations of the contributions notwithstanding – throws up many commonalities. The synthesis of these in this chapter is not intended to oversimplify or dull the impact of the narratives shared here. It is rather to identify samples of good practice on the one hand and common problematic issues on the other, with a view to sketching out ‘action points’ that can carry ESOL forward into the future.

As was discussed in the introduction, ESOL is broader than any of the fields it is traditionally associated with such as ELT and literacy. The ‘elephant in the room’ in any discussion of ESOL is its association with ‘national government policy on migration, integration and […] social inclusion’ (Simpson 2016: 178). It is this embroilment with policy issues that ‘muddies the waters’ of ESOL as mere ‘language provision’, and these run as threads through the contributions in this volume. They appear, together with other common issues characterising ESOL provision in the UK and the Republic of Ireland, in the list below, which forms the outline of the chapter:

Fluctuating government policies on ESOL provision, affecting:

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