The ESOL classroom is a complex and varied environment. “English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) – case studies of provision, learners’ needs and resources” is both a celebration and an examination of that diversity.
The five case studies in this report show some of the formal contexts in which ESOL learning takes place. They look at community-based and FE classrooms with learners ranging from Entry 1 to Level 2. Despite the heterogeneous nature of ESOL learners and the ESOL classroom, common themes emerge. In all the case studies it is clear how successfully the ESOL teachers create safe and productive environments for their learners. However, it is also clear that many need to develop the skills and knowledge to provide the wider support that many of their learners require. There is an urgent need for a more strategic approach to cross-agency support for ESOL learners. Another recurring message is the intuitive notion that in an ESOL class, group work is the dominant mode and that all talk is of value; to quote from the report “talk is work in the ESOL classroom”. The tensions between this and the increasing individualisation of ESOL teaching through Individual Learning Plans are also addressed.
Roberts, C., Baynham, M, Shrubshall, P., Barton, D., Chopra, P., Cooke, M., Hodge, R., Pitt, K., Schellekens, P., Wallace, C. & Whitfield, S. (2004) English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL): case studies of provision, learners’ needs and resources. NRDC: London