Monday, 26 November 2012



A quick entry today about a lesson I delivered on Thursday with an ESOL Level One (CEFR B1-B2; approximately Upper Intermediate) class.
This group consists of 19 students of a variety of backgrounds, with a significant group of older Sudanese learners. This class is unusual in that they almost all come from a very well- to highly-educated background, although there are several in the group with less school experience, including one with a highly-disrupted education in Afghanistan, although this particular student is highly intelligent and has successfully adapted to life in the UK.
The college is running cross-college themes: last week was anti-bullying week, and I felt it would be a useful class to do with this class, as I feel that ESOL students who are here long-term in the UK are significantly more likely to be bullied or discriminated against in a variety of contexts, all of which cause further problems for how they live, work, and study. Here's how the procedure went:
I introduced the issue of bullying through an anecdote of mine (in fact, an incident involving a pedestrian who attempted to assault me the previous day!) and checked what the learners though bullying was. I then put them into groups, and, using the whiteboards in the Rubber Room, wrote down the different kinds of bullying people might face, and where. The learners were highly engaged, actively discussing the subject and using their mobile phones to check for vocabulary and sources. They wrote up their ideas in thought clouds, then after that the groups moved around the room, looking at the other groups' ideas. We sat down together and had a brief discussion about the different types of bullying, and concept-checked any new vocabulary or ideas, asking the learners who had written the new vocab to explain it.
I then gave each group a short dialogue each, all based on different scenarios where bullying can take place. These included bullying someone because of their accent, and a racist scenario. I gave the groups enough time to memorise and practise their dialogues, then they performed them to the other class members. The rest of the group had to say what type of bullying was being demonstrated.
Following this, we had a whole class discussion about the kinds of bullying they had experienced while in the UK, and what could be done about it, and who in the college could help the learners if they experienced it.
Finally, during an IT session, the learners read about the college policy regarding bullying and commented about their experiences in an online forum.
Overall, a very satisfying lesson.
*I've decided to add a theme title at the beginning of entries to make it easier to decide if you feel it's worth reading or not. :)

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