“I was planning to stay here but now I don’t know”
“I don’t feel welcome anymore”
“What will happen to the economy?”
“Be nice and friendly to all migrants”
Participatory ESOL seems especially important right now. In EFA classes the most important question last week was “how are you feeling?”.
Some students were tearful, some angry, some scared and almost everyone worried about the future. Some people were worried about their kids and a backlash from other children at school. One student said she overheard a hostile conversation from other parents in the playground. Our communities are more divided than ever before. ESOL Teachers are worried for their students but also students are worried for their teachers. One student said, “I thought of you straight away, teacher, when I heard the result.”
So what next? EFA has resolved to do the following in response to the Referendum result and especially the surge in hate crime that has followed the vote.
1 – We will challenge racism and xenophobia wherever we see it. We will learn from other groups, how to do this most effectively. This work will become a bigger, more visible part of what we do in future. Information on how to report hate crime: http://www.report-it.org.uk/report_a_hate_crime. If you witness hate crime here is some advice https://www.theguardian.com/…/what-can-you-do-if-you-witnes…
2 – We will encourage our students to have their say about what is happening and support them to get involved in campaigns that shape the future. We will organise a day for ESOL students and teachers to come together for discussions and action planning. This will happen in September.
3 – We will support ESOL teachers (not just our own) with lesson ideas, campaigning ideas and training. Here are a few initial ideas and materials for dealing with Brexit in classes over the next few weeks:https://efalondon.wordpress.com/…/brexit-lessons-a-post-fo…/
4 – We will work with other organisations who are campaigning for equality, migrants’ rights and anti-racism. We want campaigns to include migrants in their work and ESOL teachers and students are well-placed to make that happen.
5 – We will support each other and make each other feel hopeful. This is already happening in our classrooms. We will also have a big picnic in Greenwich Park on Monday 18th July, 10.30-1pm. Join us! Bring a dish to share. Call Dermot on 07789006248 to find out exactly where we are on the day. We will celebrate our togetherness, our diversity and the end of a long academic year!