At EFA we’ve been looking at the general election in many of our classes. We’ve been thinking about how best to explore the topic in class and create space for vital conversations to take place. We’re also interested in looking at the issues we care about and want to see take centre-stage during the election campaign. Many of these are issues we explore on a regular basis, such as ESOL provision, the NHS, housing, workers’ rights. In many ways starting the topic was a natural follow on in some classes as a result of this.
EFA students and teachers are also currently organising voter registration events as part of Promote the Migrant Vote to make sure everyone who is able to vote can. We’re holding events at several of our host venues and inviting ESOL students and people from migrant and BAME backgrounds to drop by to register to vote. EFA students are taking the lead on starting conversations about the importance of voting in their local areas, as is the case with two of our classes in Shadwell. In a conversation about this, one student said: ‘every vote makes a difference’. We noticed through these conversations that many students didn’t know they could vote; this was particularly the case for Commonwealth citizens.
We encourage other ESOL teachers to create space in their classes for conversations around the general election. For the 2017, we were part of a team at Action for ESOL who put together resources and lesson plans that teachers could use. These have now been updated for the 2019 election and can be accessed here.
The EFA team has also put together additional resources to supplement this:
General political education/information about the electoral system – includes speaking, reading, and vocabulary matching activity
Promote the Migrant Vote social media campaign template – language used to talk about the importance of voting
There are paper forms that can be used to register to vote. The easy-read version makes for good ESOL class material for E1 learners: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/register-to-vote-if-youre-living-in-the-uk
Feel free to comment with more suggestions!