This talk will discuss the barriers female refugee ESOL learners face when accessing ESOL provision in the east of England. ESOL refers to English for speakers of other languages (Higton et al., 2019). ESOL is defined as English that is taught to adult learners and migrants and refugees, and those who are settling into the UK (Graham-Brown, 2018). Hunter (2022) describes barriers as factors that prevent people from accessing learning opportunities.
My interest in this area arose from my work as an ESOL tutor and running an ESOL-based community group for female refugees. The British government found that women and girls are most often likely to be held back by poor (English) language skills (Integrated Communities Strategy Green Paper, 2018). White (2021) discovered that traditional ESOL provision is failing many refugees or asylum seekers in the UK today.
ESOL learners face significant barriers, hindered by the lack of a clear ESOL policy in England (The Bell Foundation, 2021; Roden & Cupper, 2016). Unfortunately, there is generally a paucity of research on refugee learners and how to teach them (White, 2021). Thus, a vicious cycle emerges. Brown (2021) explains that there is a connection between language and the social inclusion of migrants. Whilst there is no nationwide ESOL policy in England, Brown (2021) and White (2021) found that the current ESOL curriculum is preparing learners to enter the unskilled workforce. This curriculum does not meet the diverse needs of ESOL learners. The talk will focus on the following areas.
(1) The barriers to accessing ESOL provision, based on the current literature.
(2) To pose tentative solutions to mitigate these barriers.
(3) To identify success stories and unsuccess stories from the literature.
Amna Smith is studying a PhD in Modern Languages at the University of Southampton. Her research interests include ESOL policy, barriers to accessing ESOL provision, ELT, ESOL curriculum, assessments and language testing. Amna has been teaching for over ten years.Register now