Over 100 ESOL (English for Speakers of Other Languages) students and teachers participated in an outdoor teach-out to celebrate the European Day of Languages today. The teach out took place at City Hall because we want to work with the Mayor of London and his team to make ESOL central to his plans for adult education and integration in the capital.
Students from English For Action classes across London were joined by allies from Hackney Learning Trust, City Lit, Lewisham College, CARAS, Haringey Citizens, Southwark Citizens, Share Action and Action for ESOL. There were people from all corners of the world (as well as London) and at least 15 languages spoken among us.
The teach-out was planned by EFA students Jenny and Jandira, Jenny’s daughter Alejandra and their teachers, Jess, Dermot, Anne and Amira. Jandira, originally from Angola, told the gathering about the vital importance of supporting people to learn English: “ESOL is the base, like the foundations of a building”. Next year she hopes to go to university – something that would not have been possible without ESOL.
The students all wrote personal messages to the Mayor which they assembled into a banner that said #LoveESOL.
At the same time Jenny collected signatures from everyone at the event underneath a message asking Mayor Sadiq Khan to work with us to promote ESOL in London.
Some of the students organised an impromptu march to the entrance of City Hall.
Jenny, Alejandra and Jandira went inside to deliver our message to the Mayor, who couldn’t be there to collect it personally. Next time………
Jenny, originally from Bolivia explained why so many people had come out to City Hall today:
“The ability to speak English is fundamental to participating to life in the UK and many of us need free ESOL classes because we don’t have the means to fund private lessons, so ESOL is the route to living a full dignified life here, allowing us to contribute to life in this city.”