We are committed to learning about, developing and sharing an approach to adult learning called ‘participatory ESOL’; it is also sometimes called ‘radical pedagogy’, ‘critical pedagogy’, ‘learner-led education’ or ‘democratic education’. It is a collaborative form of learning that values the students’ existing knowledge and experiences. Knowledge and skills are co-constructed, rather than handed down from an expert teacher. Participatory education is based on the premise that education is necessarily political – it can either sustain and legitimise the status quo, or it can seek to bring about social, political and economic change. By treating everyone with respect and challenging established hierarchies inside the classroom, students are better equipped to change the world outside the classroom. But we go further than critiquing injustice and modelling change; we also challenge and support our participants to take action to improve their lives and communities.