Working with refugees and asylum seekers in an ESOL classroom
Rather than framing this issue in the usual deficit terms, this session will emphasise the many language learning opportunities afforded by teaching refugees and asylum seekers. Recognising their unique, multi-dimensional experiences, this session will look at how their journeys to the UK can be used – responsibly and appropriately – for language learning purposes. This will include discussion of oral history projects, using friendly locals and collaborative writing. It will also suggest ways in which the language learning process can help learners managers and partially process trauma, particularly with relation to those soft skills which are valuable in both a learning and counselling environment, such as negotiating consensus, expressing your feelings and being inclusive. Finally, this session will also consider how teachers might be affected by working with these groups, exploring issues such as teacher well-being and vicarious trauma, and how this can be mitigated.