Tuesday, 18 September 2012

Workplace ESOL: a break from the norm

It's two o' clock and I am assessing a group of new ESOL learners. Nothing so very unusual about that, you might think. But what is unusual is that I have swapped my usual classroom and white board for a corner table in  my local Nepali restaurant, and delicious food smells are wafting from the kitchen.

This is my first Workplace ESOL lesson: a day I have been looking forward to ever since attending a training day led by national ESOL development officer,  Mandy Watts.  Workplace ESOL is a truly brilliant initiative: tutors visit groups in their places of work with the aim of tailoring lessons specifically towards the day to day linguistic needs of learners (and their employers). As tutors visit learners in their places of work, and at mutually convenient times it is particularly suitable for those who find evening classes impossible to attend. (Evening classes in Adult Learning run from 6-8pm - perfect if you work nine till five, but hardly ideal if you work in a restaurant.)

Yesterday, I worked with four Nepali learners, and assessed them using the ESOL Initial assessment packs.: http://www.esolscotland.com/initialassessmentguide.cfm. We have only recently started using these assessment packs at work, and I find them very useful indeed. I thoroughly enjoyed yesterday's session: next week I will ask learners to take me on a tour of their workplace, so we can start to prioritise the language they need to learn.

If anyone reading this has experience of Workplace ESOL or something similar I'd love to hear from you! Today is day two, and I'm off to The Great Wall  http://shetlopedia.com/The_Great_Wall to assess a group of Chinese learners.

Scottish Learning Festival (http://www.educationscotland.gov.uk/slf/index.asp)

On a slightly different note, I will be  heading to Glasgow tomorrow to showcase the film my learners made earlier this year.  Living in Shetland, it is always great  to meet other ESOL teachers  - so if you are reading this, then please come along and say hullo!  


  1. That sounds really interesting, Genny! I'll look forward to reading more about your adventures in the workplace.

    And, have fun at the Scottish Learning Festival. I'm even more disappointed not to get to see you there now that I know you'll be showcasing the film.

  2. Thanks Carol - I hope you have fun too! Let me know how you get on...

    And as for the film - I'll send you the link so you can see where we are with it!