These two projects focused on a simple strategy in an attempt to engage learners with continuing to study English. Whilst Kendal and South Lakes Community learning focused on using emojis to annotate texts and plan writing, and Lakes College used a simple planning tool for use in vocational lessons, both projects were employing strategies that had been researched some time ago on The Lancaster Literacies Project “Literacies for Learning in Further Education”
This research, undertaken by Lancaster and Stirling Universities and four further education colleges: Perth, Anniesland, Preston and Lancaster and Morecambe colleges, was based on the suggestion, “that students who appear to have low levels of literacy in educational settings can be highly literate in other domains of life: in their work, domestic, community and leisure activities.”
In both cases this suggestion proved correct. Learners engaged with using emojis from the outset. Comments from them show how much more confident they felt using a communication tool from the everyday lives. Learners taking part in the Lakes College project had not realised that skills learned in a GCSE class were not only transferable but were also useful on the vocational courses and in their personal lives.
Tutors in the post 16 sector can gain much by exploring teaching and learning approaches which are based on learners’ existing literacy practices, and building on these for their GCSE or Functional Skills courses.
Emojis in English and ESOL: Kendal College and South Lakes Community Learning
This project focused on a learner-led strategy incorporating the universal language of emojis, to ignite learner motivation, engagement and build resilience, by concentrating on persuasive, emotive writing skills. Feedback showed learners and tutors found the approach engaged learners and helped them to make progress in GCSE, Functional Skills, and English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) courses.
Developing Writing: Lakes College
This project aimed to establish a planning tool in vocational areas, to help learners complete longer writing tasks, and to build a bridge between English and vocational subjects.
Watch the group presentations at the final dissemination event by clicking play (to the right).