ESOLSIG PCE 2024 - ATTENDING ONLINE: Sanctuary and ESOL Communities: Within and Beyond the Classroom

Join IATEFL English for Speakers of Other Languages Special Interest Group (ESOLSIG) online for their 2024 Pre-Conference Event on 15 April 2024: Sanctuary and ESOL Communities: Within and Beyond the Classroom

The maritime tragedies in the Mediterranean are a reminder of the treacherous journeys that men, women and children will make to escape war, famine, ethnic, religious and political persecution on a global scale. For many new arrivals to a new or ‘host’ country, their journey is far from over. Faced with an unfamiliar culture, system, and for many, language, how to integrate, find employment, and settle in a new country is an essential next step. It is, therefore, key that various interconnected supports are made available to make this process as smooth as possible.

ESOL provision provides ‘daily sanctuary’ where learners can trust, feel safe, and begin rebuilding their lives. Therefore, ESOL teachers have had to evolve, transform and ‘become more than dispensers of knowledge’, becoming ESOL practitioners - adapting their pedagogical approaches and materials to meet the needs of their learners. In addition, they adopt various informal roles within and beyond the classroom – friend, counsellor, advisor on (education, social welfare, legal and employment). Developing ESOL communities within the classroom through learning and facilitating trust, confidence, motivation, and support allow learners to connect through economic, social, political and cultural activities to be part of the local communities. The ESOLSIG PCE will advocate that English Language is not learnt in a vacuum or purely outcomes driven.  Learning is holistic, emancipatory and interactive rather than an individual process involving the exchange of ideas, negotiating, sharing opinions, skills, and decision-making. Therefore The ESOL PCE day is underpinned by an inclusive approach to immigration, requiring learners not only to develop skills to function within the current social model but also to have a transformative impact by engaging actively with the host community. This, in turn, can improve learners’ social status but also contribute to developing a more inclusive society. This inclusive approach to immigration is congruent with the aims of critical pedagogy, where learning is participatory and multi-directional. Such an approach to education goes beyond empowering students as individuals, seeking instead to emancipate in the Marxist sense by providing learners with the knowledge and skills to effect change on a societal level.

The ESOL PCE day would like to showcase how ESOL practitioners can take ESOL learning beyond the classroom through research, case studies of best practices and integration toolkits.

The ESOL PCE will showcase best practice through workshops and prsentations on

  • How FE colleges/ ESOL education centres can align and establish ‘local’ partnerships with refugee/asylum seeker organisations, advocacy groups, political parties, community, voluntary, sports, cultural and Arts sectors.
  • Subsequently, ESOL practitioners will learn how to design, develop and adapt materials/activities in conjunction with such partnerships, to enhance learner motivation, English language and critical thinking skills.
  •  This will allow/encouarge learner autonomy through the use of English away from the classroom discover or reconnect with previous skills and hobbies they participated in before arriving in the UK and make greater local connections/friendships now and going forward.

This pre-conference event is an opportunity for practitioners to learn from each other, share and develop best practices as ESOL practitioners, and open the discussion to identify areas for further research and future collaboration regarding ESOL provision, learners, sanctuary, and creating and belonging to communities within and beyond the classroom. To conclude, the ESOL PCE day aims to bring the outside ‘local world in’, in order for leaners to access their local community through English –moving from inside the classroom out into their local communities through transformative ESOL provision.

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Event details

Event type:

SIG Event


15/04/2024 - 09:30 until 15/04/2024 - 17:00 UK time


Online event
United Kingdom


IATEFL member online attendee: 39GBP
Non-member online attendee: 59GBP

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Register now Max participants: 63