I teach English Language to adults here for many reasons. After living in Newham for some years I know there are many impediments to learning a language; whether they are familial, cultural, medical, psychological, bureaucratic because of the funding systems, and personal.
Now I have the opportunity to break down some of theses barriers, I teach in three local community centres/organisations and, because of their ethos it is possible to tailor lessons more too specific learners’ needs.
In some cases there are learners who are also known to RAMP so there is overlap. In one of the centres I am part of a small but very exciting department where lessons are given to many who come as migrants for a variety of reasons and it has a timetable for people at three levels of proficiency.
Another centre allows me to use a room for those who cannot access formal classes for different reasons. We can address pertinent issues like home-sickness as some have come following a recent marriage. All levels are welcome once a week, with an additional session for those who wish to have a writing workshop.
My third place is with a group who work with women in domestic violence relationships and have been kept back from learning due to emotional problems. This is challenging as it is on an ad hoc basis and, hopefully, will be a stop-gap until such a time comes when their situation will stabilise and learning ‘proper’ can resume. There is a fast turn over which could be frustrating but this has taught me so much about letting go and sitting easy with learning, also to trust that language is like growth and development, there are spurts, there are plateaus and the gaps get filled-in by other experiences.
I consider it such an honour and blessing to be here at this time, in this place and with these people.
Carol Condon RSCJ