It has been a pleasure to work with Edge Hill University in the partnership with the ASK Club at the Ecumenical Centre in Skelmersdale. Teaching on this project has been a great opportunity to offer skills and knowledge to those who really need it and make a difference to a person’s language ability and experience in the UK. My approach has been to offer a friendly, supportive, and sensitive environment which has made for an enjoyable and rewarding experience for the refugees and for me.
The project has helped develop me as a person and given me the opportunity to interact with and get to know a very interesting group of people I wouldn’t have met otherwise. The students look forward to the classes and are improving their English while I really enjoy teaching too. I am thankful to have been able to practice and improve my language teaching skills and have been equally glad to have the chance to get to know the people from the Skelmersdale Ecumenical Centre and the ASK Club. Providing the refugees and asylum seekers with the help they need to learn English is essential for their immersion into British society. It was incredible to witness their gratitude, their dedication to learning, and their motivation to use this skill to obtain opportunities and create a meaningful life for themselves.
This experience helped me understand that due to their life experiences and circumstances, refugees have unique needs for second language acquisition (SLA). Learning the language of their receiving country meets several goals of refugee integration, specifically, competence in the new language can promote social and economic independence to rebuild a positive future, and foster understanding of the receiving society. The ability to speak English opens doors to integration and free and accessible language education is a necessity. Classes should be adequately funded and tailored to the needs of language learners at all levels of proficiency.