health Participatory Pedagogy Southwark

Comparing healthcare systems in the ESOL classroom (+ a writing exercise!)

By Fatime Jadallah, EFA Teacher-Organiser and Volunteer Coordinator

Healthcare and the NHS are a recurring topic in our classes. When (and if) I revisit it with a new class, something new always comes out of it.

This time, my Wednesday morning class compared their own healthcare system with the NHS (most of the students are from Ukraine) and they shared their experiences (or lack thereof – e.g. ‘I’m not sure how the system works’) with it.

We explored the topic through conversations and texts, and the students also did external research on the matter. Some of us shared articles about it, and we continued the discussion on Whatsapp. We also talked about the possible solutions to the challenges we identified, including the strikes.

The majority strongly support(ed) the strikers, and the one who didn’t changed their mind about it after hearing other people’s opinions on it. We discussed the strikes in more detail in the next lesson and we looked at the options on how to support the strikers (when this was relevant).

They also wrote a social media post that reflects our discussion. In terms of language, we did a lot of vocabulary work related to healthcare and did further research. We’ll do role-plays to increase our confidence in dealing with difficult situations.

A Google Jamboard from the class.

Students wrote (the texts have been revised for clarity):


“Greetings to everyone who reads this post! I would like to draw your attention to a problem that affects everyone in one way or another.

All of us at least once faced with the expectation when contacting a general practitioner. It is time to look into this and draw the attention of the authorities to this problem.

A catastrophic shortage of medical personnel will result in people not getting help when they need it most. In turn, the staff is forced to work very hard for mere pennies.  As a result, health workers go on strike, and the population suffers from their health problems while waiting for help.

The government is obliged to take measures to solve this problem. Carry out the necessary reforms in the medical field and increase its funding. I ask everyone who cares to share this post. Together – we are a force!”


“I think the problem in the NHS is systemic. It includes many factors such as population increase, economic problems, high inflation and COVID 19.

As a result, the quality of services of the NHS is low. Besides, low qualification of the medical personnel is also a problem. The medical personnel mentioned above have a low salary compared to the workload [they have].

I think that it is necessary to reform the NHS system. It needs clear planning and increased funding and accountability of the government. These steps will help to solve the problems with the quality of medical care.

This is very important, because the wellbeing of the country completely depends on the physical and mental wellbeing of its citizens.”


“The NHS in the UK faces a number of challenges. From long waiting times to understaffing, it’s clear that something needs to be done to improve service.

The government needs to invest more in the NHS so that patients get the care they need in a timely manner. Investing in the NHS can ensure that the health service is fit for the future.”


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