It's been an exciting journey for Upbeat Communities regarding ESOL provision.
Over the first couple of years we were providing English classes for free to those who had just arrived in Derby and were unable to pay for their lessons. It was great to see people becoming more confident in using the English language and beginning to integrate in the community by forming friendships with each other as well as the teachers and volunteers.
As we were awarded funding in the beginning of this year to deliver English classes we were able to write our own curriculum. The 6-week course is designed for those who have just arrived in England so besides teaching the basic English we wanted them to get to know Derby and learn about topics such as Schools and Doctors, Shopping, Banks and Money, Housing, Bills and Contracts, Waste etc. Our aim is to do it in a fun and visual way, for instance teaching about waste and the vocabulary around that we bring in the bins and let them sort out the waste.
At the end of July we completed the first two courses and the feedback was encouraging. People found the curriculum very interesting, they enjoyed learning about British culture and they especially liked watching clips of Mr Bean! We are currently in the middle of our third course and it's going really well. In the beginning of September we are starting our 4th and 5th courses and they are already fully booked!
It's rewarding to see the learners getting sad when the course has ended or when they present the teachers some flowers to thank them for all they had done for them. Over the time we have had some great volunteers assisting the teachers and some of them have been faithfully helping for a couple of years. Upbeat Communities couldn't exist without the help of volunteers, so if you would like to get involved with the ESOL classes and meet some amazing people, please contact us!