If you were tempted to say 9.30 in the morning until 12pm, you’d be so wrong! Any teacher knows that a lesson begins long before any learners arrive; it begins with planning and preparation. How do we plan? What do we prepare? Why not just turn to a page in a course book and […]
If you were tempted to say 9.30 in the morning until 12pm, you’d be so wrong! Any teacher knows that a lesson begins long before any learners arrive; it begins with planning and preparation. How do we plan? What do we prepare? Why not just turn to a page in a course book and use that? More good questions.
At ICN, our teachers know that their lessons need to be relevant and useful if we are to achieve our aim of helping learners to find jobs, access higher education and manage their daily lives here in the UK. We need to give our learners a solid foundation of the English language that can be built on and used to enable them to access all aspects of life here. To this end, teachers look for and create resources that are interesting and engaging. Our learners come with different learning styles – some enjoy hands on activities and games, others learn by reading, others by listening, so resources must reflect these needs.
Spikey profiles also need to be considered- “Spikey who?” I hear you ask. “What’s he got to do with it?” Well, it’s not a person and it has everything to do with making a successful lesson! Learners have different educational experiences, from no formal schooling at all to university degrees, and different levels in the four skills: speaking, listening, reading and writing. I have met learners who are able to hold coherent conversations but can’t read, others who can read but don’t understand what they’ve read, others who can understand what is said but can’t reply or join in a conversation. They have spikey profiles, strong in one skill and lacking in another. Our teachers are very skilled in adapting their lessons to meet the needs and abilities of each member of their class – and that requires planning and preparation.
OK, so the lesson begins with planning, but surely it ends at 12pm? Wrong again! Now begins the reflective process. Our teachers look back on the lesson to see what went well and what didn’t. They ask themselves some searching questions: did everyone take away something useful from that lesson? Who was struggling and with what? How can they be supported in the next lesson? Who was flying? How can they be more challenged in the next lesson? How can learning that took place today be built on in the next lesson? How much reinforcement of language presented in this lesson will be needed in the next lesson? When can I have a coffee? You get the idea! It’s a circular process where one lesson leads into the next, and the next lesson looks back at the previous one.
At ICN, we have teachers who are able to incorporate all this into their teaching and who are totally committed to bringing out the best in each and every one of their learners. That is why I can say with very confidence that we have an amazing, professional, dedicated, talented and caring ESOL team. Simply the Best!
Fiona Marlow – ESOL Department Manager
21 May 2020
James Davies wrote this piece in 2016 – long before lockdown! He has since retired from ICN, but his wonderful description perfectly captures what it is like to work at ICN. The routine, the unpredictability, and the joy of being able to share with our clients both in their sorrows and in their rejoicing. Alarm. […]
James Davies wrote this piece in 2016 – long before lockdown! He has since retired from ICN, but his wonderful description perfectly captures what it is like to work at ICN. The routine, the unpredictability, and the joy of being able to share with our clients both in their sorrows and in their rejoicing.
Alarm. Tea & Bible. Breakfast. See my wife off to work. Dog up to Taskers Meadow. Car and ferry to Bournemouth.
The ICN staff convene at 9 and have a few minutes of prayer to commit the day to the Lord and seek His wisdom for all we will face. Then it is look at the diary to see who is expected, get out the relevant files, deal with any immediate messages or emails.
- A Syrian refugee, newly arrived, who wants to talk about getting a visa for his wife and children to join him. He comes with a friend to interpret.
- An older white South African couple who want to settle in the UK with their adult children who all have British Citizenship. Will it be possible?
- An Asian woman who is being hit by her British husband. He is using her visa status (here as a spouse) as a weapon against her – threatening that she will be deported if she tells anyone or tries to leave home.
- A friend of many years, a Kurdish refugee, who has now qualified for British Citizenship, coming to complete the application form.
- A West Indian, in the UK since childhood in the early 1960s, who has never sought British Citizenship. His employer is now asking for evidence that he is allowed to work.
In the middle of the morning the post arrives. Rejoicing around the office that a Tibetan that we have been standing with for seven years has won an appeal and is likely to be able to stay. Sadness that an Iranian has been refused a travel document – I put the papers on one side to look at in detail later to see if the decision can be challenged. A letter from the Home Office asking for extra information for someone to support his application made a couple of months ago.
All the while there are phone calls from other local organisations, or prospective clients with complex questions asking for “just two minutes of time – it’ll be very quick”; the buzz from the English class upstairs, and from the child whose parents are seeking help in the next room; grabbing and being grabbed by colleagues with questions – as none of us know everything, but between us we know a lot.
I nip out mid-afternoon to see a friend, with whom I spend a regular hour each week studying Mark’s gospel.
Back to catch up with some paperwork – never finished. Some of the most productive time is after other staff have left and I can work through things in quietness.
Then it’s the ferry. Supper. Catch up with my wife’s day. Walk the dog on the Downs. Bit of television. Bath & bed.
James Davies – Senior Immigration Advisor (now retired)
14 May 2020