October 15th 2016
The Sherman Five Theatre, Cardiff
The attendees were a mixture of students, teachers, LA consultants and BTAs. The theme was Supporting refugee pupils and there was a discussion around the importance of supporting the family as well as the pupils and the differences between the support offered in Cardiff and Gwent.
Hala highlighted the World News article: Supporting 40,000 New Students from Issue 1 of the new EAL Journal which explained how Germany is supporting refugee pupils. There were lively debates about whether or not it was good practice to teach large groups of refugee pupils separately until they are proficient in English, as well as whether home language qualifications were offered in the authorities.
The ESOL students who attended from China and Vietnam were able to compare English language acquisition both in UK and their home countries. Here there is an immersion in English language and culture, whereas overseas, they have to work harder, in a way, to provide that context for their students. They also mentioned that their students choose to study English to enhance their prospects, whereas our pupils have to learn English.
Finally, Guy O’Donoll, co-ordinator of Sherman Five, explained Sherman Five’s aims and what they can offer schools such as engaging parents and enhancing literacy skills in Cardiff and Newport.