Sharing Lives Sharing Languages

Project Aim 

It aims: to increase the social connections and opportunities for non-native English speakers (Syrian New Scots) to use their English outside the classroom, using a peer education approach to encourage  participation in collective actions to the benefit of the group and the local community.

Project Description

To meet and share culture, language and friendship within the local community. Collective actions are carried out in, and with, the local community to enhance everyone's experience of meeting people from other cultural backgrounds, thereby  giving  participants access in trying new things in a safe and supported environment.

Target Audience

Syrian New Scots and any local people whether native  English speakers or not.

Learner testimonials / success stories

Many learners felt they spoke more confidently in their ESOL classes and were more confident going to the shops on their own (women).

Two ESOL learners have now applied to go to college full-time reporting that the sessions gave them more experience speaking English and this made them feel more confident to travel on public transport to study in the nearby city.

Survival English

Project Aim

To equip those with very low English language skills with the basics that they need to get by on a day-to-day basis and to build their confidence to engage with further learning

Project Description

WEA 'Survival English' ESOL courses are designed to meet the complex needs of literacy learners who may have limited first language skills as well as varying skills and confidence in reading, speaking, listening and writing in English. Learners gain basic English language skills, build the confidence and understanding necessary to support their integration into Scottish society, make social connections and attain some cultural knowledge.

Our approach to building a curriculum is to start with a framework but to adapt to suit particular needs of learners in any given group in order to maximise progress and engagement with the learning process.

Target Audience

Refugees and Asylum Seekers, some others who would gain from the provision such as those from settled communities who have been isolated.

Overall ESOL language levels should be assessed between literacy (defined by the Glasgow ESOL partnership as students may have varying levels of speaking and listening but very little or no knowledge of Roman script, reading and writing) and Elementary. (CEF level A0,A1)

Learner testimonials / success stories

Learner x recently arrived in Scotland. x was very withdrawn when we met and was being supported by our partner agency. x was assessed at the lowest English language level. During a 10 week 'Survival English' programme, x became the rising star. Showing steely determination to learn and utilising free newspapers to learn new words outside of class. By the end of the sessions x had made amazing progress and was now lively and engaged. Aided by WEA tutors and a nurturing group environment it is a fantastic example of what can be achieved. Learner x is now attending college.

Syrian New Scots

Project Aim

To provide first step community based ESOL provision for Syrians brought to Scotland through the Syrian Vulnerable Persons Relocation Scheme

Project Description

Group ESOL teaching, mainly for beginners. Provided in partnership with local council staff. Initial assessment done by local college. Learners (as far as possible) placed in groups by level. Some one-to-one provision where numbers are not high enough for a group or where there are particular issues e.g. health – preventing them travelling to, or joining a group.

Tutors all use the Social Practice model, well recognised in Scotland in community based delivery – whereby the language training reflects and reinforces everyday language needs – rather than a strict grammatical approach. Role play eg visiting the doctor – used with contextualised vocabulary.

Assessment at the end of the year together with the learner’s agreed aims will decide if they go on to college provision.

Target Audience 

Syrians brought to Scotland through the Syrian Vulnerable Persons Relocation Scheme

Learner testimonials / success stories

Verbal ones anecdotally very positive. Many learners have very limited skills in written English.