Empowering ESOL learners to get the most out of their studies

Sheran Johnson (mentor)

This has been a very challenging year but having the opportunity to work with three ESOL action research projects committed to findings ways to support their learners at this difficult time has been a thoroughly rewarding experience.

Hull’s work on integrating email into low level ESOL classes not only created opportunities for naturally occurring writing practice but also helped provide the glue between lessons encouraging more engagement which might have been lost as the result of less F2F delivery. What they learnt has resulted in an induction programme for their ESOL learners across the whole college group.

Wakefield College were also keen to ensure that their learners were not disadvantaged by the challenges of digital access during the pandemic. They focussed on a wide range of different approaches which looked at both technical and language challenges with some fantastic results. One Pre-entry learner, illiterate in his own language was loaned a laptop to continue with his studies. By the end of the course his tutor said that he was explaining to others how to use a range of features in Teams, ‘which enabled us to have some really productive lessons during lockdown 3’.

New College Durham’s work also recognised the additional impact that the pandemic was having on many of their learners, in particular their ability to learn new language. In addition to their work on vocabulary strategies and well-being techniques in face to face and on line sessions, their project  extended the focus on mental health and has been collaborating with a local social enterprise to set up a garden safe space for ESOL Learners.

Ready to send and receive? Improving Adult ESOL Learners’ English Through Email: Hull College

This project aimed to explore strategies designed to improve ESOL learners’ skills in reading and writing emails in order to pass their ESOL writing exams and enable them to take part more fully in both their ESOL courses and as learners of the college. We learnt that from optimising learning opportunities in multi-task activities and opening up channels of communication in pre and post class activities, learners were encouraged to use their English more and were more likely to achieve.

Exploring Strategies for Improving Vocabulary Retention in ESOL Learners: New College Durham

Trauma can seriously affect memory, making the ability to learn a new language even more difficult. What can we do to help those affected? Our project looked at ways to reduce anxiety and strategies to help our ESOL learners remember how to use vocabulary confidently and accurately.

Levelling the Playing Field: Helping ESOL Learners to Access Remote Learning Opportunities: Wakefield College

Our project is an exploration into overcoming language, digital skills and socio-economic barriers to increase engagement and success for ESOL learners in online and blended learning models, preparing learners to be successful and thrive in their lives in the UK.

Watch the group presentations at the final dissemination event by clicking play (to the right).

Access their full reports below.