14 Feb 2023
Helping refugees learn English with a structured syllabus and fun activities
James Styring has been an English Language Teacher and writer for over 30 years and is currently using the English for Everyone series in his classroom to assist with refugees learning English in and around Oxford. In our interview James discussed the importance of a clear, modular programme being paired with engaging activities to best help refugees to master the English language.
After being approached by a local refugee action group, James set up an English language class programme to help with the growing demand in the area for English language learning. Having recruited a team of twelve teachers, they began offering free lessons weekly, in eight different classes as well as one conversation class.
Using English for Everyone as a clear and structured syllabus
In May James met with the first group of students, most of whom were adults over 30. He found that most were ranking at an English level of A1, in line with the CEFR (Common European Framework of Reference for Languages). The majority of students were looking to improve their functional English to communicate in day-to-day situations, in new jobs, or even to be able to gain a UK driver’s licence.
The teachers are currently using Levels 1–3 of the course, which has been working really well for both teachers and students. The English for Everyone Course Books create the basis of the class, offering “structure[...]security and backbone” to each lesson. English for Everyone appealed to the team due to the clear, modular structure of the series. The teachers felt sure that the books could provide the “basis of a good syllabus” for their classes due to the “very structured and clear, and step-by-step” approach.
Learners on the programme are really keen to engage in self-study material, outside of the classroom. Each student is supplied with a copy of the Practice Book to work from in their own time. This also means that everyone has a copy that they can write in to test their learning from the course. As each Practice Book mirrors the Course Book of that level, James tells us they are an invaluable consolidation tool for students in between lessons.