Mentoring ESOL Students at West London College

Partner: Ealing, Hammersmith and West London College, Barons Court, London
Partner type: Maintained School
Project category: Volunteering

The L6 volunteers provide regular, weekly classroom support to the ESOL students with English speaking, listening and literacy tasks. Most of these students are refugees and have arrived in the UK unaccompanied.

Aims of the project

The main aim is to give the West London College students the opportunity to practise their English and develop their language skills, as well as helping them to adjust to life in the UK. They are able to build connections with students of the same age, and perhaps discuss issues faced by both groups, as well as those that are particular to the young refugees living in London.

Latymer Upper students benefit from learning ESOL teaching skills. They discover how many similarities there are between them and the ESOL students, as well as differences. They learn how to listen and respond appropriately to their peers who may have travelled overland from East Africa and Syria; occasionally sensitive personal stories are divulged. They discover how optimistic and gifted these young refugees are, and the pleasure of working together. On occasions, this may help the Latymer students to see their worries and problems through a different lens.

Background and goals

Staff at West London College have connections with Latymer Upper and were aware of the Service in the Community programme. They then asked for some L6 volunteers to act as classroom assistants for these particular students

Impact

Feedback from one of the ESOL teachers, Mel Clyne:

All of the Latymer students have been extremely helpful in the class, and have given my ESOL students the opportunity to practice their English and develop their language skills. They have an excellent manner with the ESOL students and are very supportive whilst also allowing them to work independently on tasks. They show sensitivity to the difficulties and needs of the students and have a good understanding of the kind of help these learners need. My students really look forward to their visits, and have in fact asked if they can come to the class every day!

Pupil involvement

Students from Latymer Upper are 16-17 years old: students from West London College are 16-18 years old. 

Frequency and duration

The classes are up to 1.5 hours long and LUS students volunteer weekly on a Monday (1.45pm) or Tuesday (4.30pm) afternoon. They start just after October half term and continue through to May half term