EFA has always been committed to research and learning about participatory ESOL. See below a selection of research we have been involved with, or have found most valuable.
Robin Sivapalan, Cyrille Cartier; 2023.
Community Organising for All (COFA) brings together four education-focused organisations from Italy, Croatia, Slovenia, and the UK for this EU-funded project, where we’re taking stock of the community organising landscape across our respective national contexts with the aim of identifying what’s working and what we can improve upon with respect to organising with migrant communities.
Our growing COFA toolkit currently includes written research and a five-part podcast series on best practices for organising across the four countries. The article above grapples with questions of power, leadership, hierarchy, care and sustainability in the work of social action groups in Italy, Slovenia, Croatia and the UK.
Melanie Cooke, Ben Rampton, Becky Winstanley, Dermot Bryers, Adela Belecova, Kasia Blackman, Tina Griffiths, Fatime Jadallah, Amy Jowett, Sheeva Malakouti & Rae Whitehouse; 2023.
“Participatory ESOL” as an approach to teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) emerged in the UK around 2007. 15 years later, ESOL practitioners who are engaged with its delivery and development took stock of what has happened in that time and looked at the impact on their own practice.
The 11 participants engaged in activities designed to reflect on their own Participatory ESOL practice. They carried out and discussed reflective activities such as self observations of teaching, collective micro analysis of lesson transcripts, interviews with students and reflective writing over a six-month period.
The research project was organised by English for Action (EFA) and the Hub for Education and Language Diversity (HELD) based at Kings College London.
An accompanying podcast by the same name was produced as part of this research project. You can listen to it here.
Clara Malkassian, Mariana Hanssen, Yohan Cambert (Elan Interculturel); Amira Elwakil, Cait Crosse (English for Action); Chiara Ioriatti, Maria Grazia Ruggieri, Roberto Mazzini (Giolli Cooperativa Sociale); Samira Sinai, Zsófia Jozifek (Nyitott Kor); 2021.
Migreat! was a trans-national research project bringing together four European, education-focused organisations — English for Action, Giolli Cooperativa Sociale (Italy), Elan Interculturel (France), and Nyitott Kor (Hungary) — to explore tools and methods for changing narratives around migration across the continent. As part of the project, the group produced a handbook detailing practical methods for engaging classrooms and communities in this narrative-building work.
See the Migreat! website with resources developed through this research under the “Toolkits” section.
Dr. Melanie Cooke, King’s College London; Dermot Bryers, English for Action; Becky Winstanley, Tower Hamlets College. Feb, 2018.
Speakers of languages other than English in the UK frequently face barriers to their integration, not because they do not speak the language or are reluctant to learn it (a commonly repeated trope in political and public discourse) but because of beliefs about bi/multilingualism. Our Languages explores the potential for incorporating sociolinguistic topics into ESOL and to establish an approach more in tune with students’ and communities’ realities.
See the Our Languages website with resources developed through this research under the “Toolkits” section.
Becky Winstanley, 2016.
This report, the research for which EFA was a part, describes how Theatre of the Oppressed methods can be used with ESOL to create a pedagogy of resistance with a focus on migration struggles.
See the ACT ESOL toolkit that was developed through this research under the “Toolkits” section.
Dr. Melanie Cooke, King’s College, London; Becky Winstanley, Tower Hamlets College. 2016.
These five articles explore using an ‘emerging’ curriculum inspired by students as opposed to pre-set lessons.
Dr. Melanie Cooke, King’s College London; Dermot Bryers, English for Action; Becky Winstanley, Tower Hamlets College. 2013.
What does the term ‘integration’ mean to adult ESOL learners? Students found ‘integration’ a difficult term to define, but nevertheless a pertinent one. They expressed anxiety about ways of belonging to their local communities and about how to position themselves in relation to religious, gender, economic and ethnic categories. The report suggests that participatory ESOL classes can offer a safe environment for critical debate and discussion, which in turn, fostered the development of language beyond students’ designated levels. The report concludes that integration is not a one-way street, or even a two-way street between migrant and ‘host’ community but as complex and multi-directional as a ‘Spaghetti Junction’.
Dr. Melanie Cooke, King’s College London; Dermot Bryers, English for Action; Becky Winstanley, Tower Hamlets College. 2014
This research analysed the language produced by the students during political discussions, for example, on Universal Credit and the ‘Bedroom Tax’ and examined whether forced output and co-construction of meaning (Swain 1995) can have a positive impact on language acquisition.
Chapter on Participatory ESOL in British Council’s Language Issues in Migration and Integration, ed. David Mallows, 2014
Dr. Melanie Cooke, King’s College London; Dermot Bryers, English for Action; Becky Winstanley, Tower Hamlets College.
We learn about the background to participatory ESOL and its underpinning principles. The authors also share with us some techniques that can be employed by teachers.