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Action in the ESOL classroom

8 Feb

What does it mean to take action with students? How can we make sure actions are led by learners not by teachers? How can we discuss and plan action in the ESOL classroom without imposing on students who just want to learn English? This January, English for Action staff and volunteers met up to explore these questions and share our skills, tools and ideas.

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Conference follow up: Notes on developing a student centred curriculum

29 Oct

“Curriculum is not a product (developed before the start of the program), but a process, which is constantly created through participant interaction.” (Elsa Auerbach)

At EFA London’s Exploring Participatory ESOL conference on 11th October we asked participants how topics emerged in their lessons. What activities did they use to find out more about their students and their interests? What strategies did they use as a teacher to create a classroom community where topics could emerge?

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Writing in the participatory ESOL classroom

10 Jul

I always look forward to the internal trainings we run at EFA London. As an organisation, we are constantly working on our ‘participatory ESOL’ approach, and trainings are a key space where our teachers and volunteers can master new tools and exchange their ideas, questions and experiences.

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Training at the Iranian Youth Development Association

6 Jan

On Saturday we delivered a training session for the Iranian Youth Development Association (IYDA). The session focused on using participatory tools to differentiate language learning for students of different levels. The Iranian Youth Development Association is a wonderful charity, set up in 1989, that provides Farsi language lessons and Iranian and Afghan cultural education for children. At the training we focused strongly on identity and working with students to talk and write about themselves in their own terms. We had a fascinating debate about the racism suffered by Afghans in Iran. One or two of the participants felt uncomfortable and “embarrassed” as a result. However everyone agreed that it was a really important debate to have though and this kind of delicate issues cannot be silenced. The job of the participatory teacher, along with his/her students, is to foster a learning community where authentic debate can emerge and students can take on throny issues, while at the same time everyone feels respected and supported.