Teaching mixed-ability classes

One of the challenges that many of us face in teaching conversational English is how to manage a class of mixed abilities. How do we ensure that everyone is learning in such an environment? (Even if your class isn’t labelled as ‘mixed ability’, there is bound to be a range of abilities, backgrounds, learning experiences… Read more »

Migration, Muddle and Ministry

As Christians, what sense are we supposed to make of the current ‘migrant crisis’?   Whether we like it or not, and sometimes we don’t, people are on the move like never before…and most of them are coming to Europe. People are settling in our cities, our towns and our countryside, some seeking a better… Read more »

So to Speak

So you teach English to migrants? Firstly, your skills are invaluable and in great demand! Only this year, the government released a report which looked at the impact of community-based English language provision, and concluded that what you’re doing ‘increases English language ability and encourages wider social integration’. As teachers, we are already aware of… Read more »

Boggle cubes lined up to spell explore

Teaching Pronunciation – Top Tips

Why Bother with Pronunciation? If you’re not convinced about the merits of spending time on pronunciation, here are some reasons to start thinking about it… * It’s fun! It can be a moment of light relief in a lesson as students all have a go at making sounds which don’t come easily to them. *… Read more »

Ai and her family

Ai’s Story

Ai came to London as a student in 2003 but only one month after her arrival, she injured herself whilst doing Kendo, a type of Japanese fencing. Unfortunately she’d torn her Achilles tendon and had to endure surgery followed by a lengthy recovery – six months without being able to walk on it. This was… Read more »

Middled-aged south-asian man

Mohammed’s Story

This is Mohammed, and he’s from Babylon in Iraq. He moved to Croydon in December 2015, and he attends the Vineyard English School there. Mohammed and his wife are both doctors, and he has worked in many different countries: Angola, Lebanon, Syria, Libya, Soviet Union and Yemen. He brought medical aid to people in need…. Read more »

Cubes with letters on them

Games for International Cafés

Small board and card games are great for a café setting. Recently many new games have been published which are quick to learn and play with simple rules. You can invite someone to plan with you and even if they are not fluent in English they can quickly get to grips and have fun. Likewise,… Read more »

An image of an angel sitting on a balcony.

Placing Students – Top Tips

See this as a God-given opportunity to welcome and show love, rather than something to ‘get over and done with’. Have a person(s) tasked with placing people. Make the most of that first meeting when a new student arrives. Smile, show warmth and make them tea. Tailor your registration form so that you can get… Read more »

Resilience in ESL Ministry – Top Tips

Sow to reap (Galatians 6:7-8). Sowing was a thankless task because only a fraction of the grain you tossed on the ground would produce fruit, and even then not for many months. Paul used this picture to describe Christian ministry. Like the farmer, the only way to endure is to focus on the harvest to come. Are… Read more »

Hayk’s Story

Syrian Hayk knows all about being a refugee. In the last 20 years, he has been a failed migrant, a successful voluntary migrant, a deportee and a forced migrant. He has travelled from the north of Syria to Turkey, Greece, Egypt, Cuba, Austria Spain, France, and Belgium all in a desperate attempt to reach the… Read more »

Frances’ Story – Teaching English in Reading

I’m 50 years old, trained as a nursery nurse, and was working as a teaching assistant when our lives took an unexpected turn in 2010. My youngest child, aged 13, developed serious mental health problems and I was forced to give up work in order to become his full time carer. This was a really… Read more »