It’s National Lifelong Learning Week (8-12 November) and to celebrate we are sharing some feedback and stories from our students, volunteers and staff about the difference we make to their lives through our Adult Education programme. We hope this inspires you to come and learn with us, fund our work, volunteer with us, or just tell a friend about our work.
Since 1999, we have provided free English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) courses for migrant and refugee communities in Wandsworth, so they can improve their English literacy and language across the four skills of speaking, listening, reading and writing. This academic year we have 120 students, and a waiting list, such is the demand. Our adult learners attend at least 2 lessons a week and we provide a creche so they can attend whilst their children are cared for and safe.
What our students think about our classes
“My English skills have improved – my writing – how to plan and write paragraphs. Now I’m happy. When I go to the GP I can solve my problem because now I can speak and communicate. In the beginning it was very hard for me. Now I’ve got more confidence in the shop I work in.” Feedback from one of KLS students
“When I arrived in UK, I could not speak or write properly. But now I can write and speak, although I am not satisfied yet, I am trying to improve my skills.” Abdi, one of our students
“I think my English skill is improving, especially I don’t hesitate to speak English to others in public compared with before.” Feedback from one of KLS students
“I didn’t want to do online learning. I felt bad. I didn’t understand and I stopped coming to classes. My teacher called me and I came to KLS. She showed me how to use a laptop, I took it home and then I came to all my classes. My teacher, she is so patient she makes me relax. Now I am proud of myself and my teacher is proud of me. I have passed all my Entry 3 exams.” Monica, one of our students
“The English and Maths have positive impacts on my life. It helped me to follow my dreams and it also increased my confidence a lot.” One of our ESOL students
“In the beginning I was struggling with my speaking and now I’m quite comfortable with my speaking. My conversation has improved and I have made friends.” Feedback from one of KLS students
Djedjiga, a former student returning to volunteer
One volunteer, Djedjiga, returned to us this year after a few years absence. She was eager to use the skills she had learnt in her CELTA course to run her own group: the lower-level Waiting List group starting in January 2021.
Djedjiga liaised with the ESOL manager closely and they worked together to develop a Scheme of Work which she delivered to a group of 10 students (Entry 1-2) once a week, online, for the spring term. Her confidence grew weekly which was a pleasure to observe. She was happy to take on new ideas; work with multi-level learners; and master online learning tools. The result was that students engaged well, had very good attendance and bonded well as a group. This was even better when they started face to face classes in May.
Djedjiga is a Second Language English speaker, who having grown up in Algeria and France speaks several languages and has a good understanding of intercultural issues. Her empathy for the students is palpable and she has a quiet patience. All of these things make her an engaging teacher.
As a result of her success, Djedjiga has accepted the challenge to teach the IT for ESOL courses next academic year (three courses running once a week for six weeks). This will be a good way to widen the scope of her experience. She will be well supported by the team.
Adar’s lifelong learning journey from student to volunteer and now staff
Adar is from Somalia, has been in the UK for more than 20 years and has brought up her five children here. Adar has been coming to KLS for a number of years and has progressed slowly but surely both in confidence and language acquisition. She gained a Level 1 certificate two years ago on our Childcare course and has since been working as a valued member of the ESOL crèche team. She is a softly spoken woman with a strong presence.
During the winter lockdown the ESOL department partnered with the National Literacy Trust (NLT) to run an Early Years Together pilot project with Somali mothers and their pre-school children. This had to be adapted from the original face to face concept to being delivered online. This is where Adar shone. She recruited all the parents from her local networks to take part; she helped with training the parents for online delivery; she translated for both sides of the language divide and made sure that engagement remained high. It was a very successful pilot which is now being adapted and rolled out to different communities by the NLT. Adar was also able to see herself in a new light – as a community organiser and able to hold her own in English speaking situations.
Other interesting projects that Adar was involved in this year – promoting Covid Safety to the Somali community in a film made at KLS for Wandsworth Council. Following on from that Adar also co-scripted, translated into Somali and starred in, a short film allaying the fears around and promoting the benefits of the Covid Vaccination.
For more information on studying on our courses:
Our volunteers are truly amazing. They help us run all of our community services.
If you’re interested in volunteering then please fill in our ‘Volunteer Application Form’.