Students teach English to refugees

Ellie Johnston

Final year English students at the University of South Wales are working with the Welsh Refugee Council (WRC) to deliver English lessons to refugees.

As part of their undergraduate degree, students at the University are offered a unique educational opportunity to teach refugees and earn an extra qualification, while gaining invaluable experience.

The TESOL (Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages) certificate is awarded to students who successfully complete the industry benchmark equivalent of a pre-service English language teacher training course.

Students have to deliver lessons as well as act as classroom assistants. This includes teaching language which can help the learners in day to day life.

Many of the students who teach at WRC are from BA (Hons) English or BA (Hons) English with TESOL degrees.

Ellie Johnston, 20, from Blackwood is studying BA (Hons) English, said: “The students are passionate and eager to learn. They want to be able to adapt to our culture.

“This is my favourite part of my degree, it is a lot of work but very rewarding.”

The lessons are very popular and often over-subscribed.

Ziad, a Syrian asylum seeker, said: “When I arrived in the UK it was extremely difficult for me to communicate. I had problems shopping, using transport and asking for help. This made every detail of day to day life a challenge. However, after a short time I was told about free English classes delivered at WRC. The teachers here want to help us, without them I would not be able to do anything.”

Hannah Wharf, Policy and Communications Manager for WRC, said: “The partnership with the University of South Wales is fantastic. It ensures hundreds of asylum seekers in Cardiff can access essential ESOL classes from experienced, enthusiastic and energetic teachers. The lessons directly benefit asylum seekers developing their English skills and building their confidence.”

The University of South Wales graduate TESOL Certificate has been very successful since its launch five years ago with graduates currently employed all over the world.

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