Training events for ESOL teachers with pre-entry / New to ESOL learners


One of the biggest challenges ESOL teachers currently face is how to teach refugees and asylum-seekers with very low IT skills, especially if they are at the pre-entry / New to ESOL level and the pandemic has resulted in online teaching.

We at the SMP have joined forces with NATECLA and Learning Unlimited to offer a series of training events to assist you. It goes without saying that all of these events will be online.

These training events are open to ESOL providers/teachers working with refugees, asylum-seekers and unaccompanied children in the 6 counties of the East of England.

There are two elements. Firstly a series of 3 webinars that large numbers of teachers can attend.

All 3 webinars will focus on pre-entry / New to ESOL refugee learners.

Clicking the links takes you to the booking pages.


1) Online teaching: using Zoom, digital tools and devices (9 Feb, 10-12)

Presenters: Chloë Hynes and Rachel Öner
This is a practical session which will cover useful tips and strategies for teaching ESOL online. The session will provide an introduction to using Zoom as a learning environment for ESOL learners, demonstrating how to orientate learners around Zoom – discuss the importance of creating ‘rules of the room’, exploring the use of breakout rooms, chat, reactions and polls. We will introduce some external platforms which complement Zoom.

Next, we will investigate some features to help you get the best use out of PowerPoint for your ESOL classes. In particular we will look at making your presentations more engaging and effective in teaching and learning a language.

Finally, the session will explore how to make the online ESOL classroom a dynamic, practical and interactive learning environment. Many features of a traditional ESOL class can be lost when delivering classes online. This session will look at how we can bridge the gap but effective use of ed tech such as visualisers and tablet boards, as well as free whiteboards and platforms for creating cue cards and quizzes, great for in class or flipped learning.

2) Remote ESOL teaching with little or no technology (19 Feb 10-11.30)

Presenters: Judy Kirsh and Sylvia Ashton
In this session, we’ll be discussing the many issues which have arisen around teaching ESOL remotely to learners. We will address the problem of digital exclusion then look at positive ways of working in lockdown and beyond, by, for example, using smartphones or working remotely with no technology. We will welcome you to share your ideas and we’ll make these available along with our slides and handouts to all participants after the session along with lots of sources of help, useful websites and resource

3) Engagement in ESOL classes (25 Feb 10-11.30)

Presenter: Carol Samlal
The webinar hopes to emphasise the importance of online learner engagement in ESOL and how this can be achieved. The three main areas covered will be:
• the reasons for engagement,
• the benefits to learning and well-being, and
• to share good practice and practical ideas for how this can be done.
This includes various online tools, as well as good old-fashioned people skills.
This webinar is primarily for practitioners of ESOL, especially those who are delivering online for the first time.
It could be useful for managers or others who are interested in better understanding the effort and time required to engage ESOL learners online.

Small group sessions

Secondly, small groups (maximum 6) of teachers will join training for more intensive advice and intervention. This will enable teachers to implement suggestions directly, build up networks and test out the proposed interventions. The SMP has linked up with an existing project offered by Learning Unlimited and the Education and Training Foundation: New to ESOL online Teaching Practice Groups

In addition to the standard groups that are on offer (see website above), we have arranged for specialist small groups to be formed to benefit from this project. Our small groups will work with an experienced trainer who will set practical teaching tasks for each group matched to their teaching contexts and learners. There will be two sessions – one to set the tasks and the other to review the tasks and feedback on how they went.

Once again, these training events are focused exclusively on teaching New to ESOL / pre-entry learners.

We have set up groups with similar profiles and are currently planning the following small groups:

1) ESOL providers in Norfolk (16 Feb & 16 Mar) – CANCELLED
2) ESOL providers in Bedford, in particular those with MHCLG funding through the Bedford ESOL Advice Service (16 Feb & 16 Mar)
3) Adult learning services, e.g. ACL in Essex and HAFLS (16 Feb & 16 Mar)
4) FE colleges, e.g. Cambridge Regional College, City College Peterborough, West Herts College, North Herts College, Oaklands College (23 Feb & 23 Mar) – CANCELLED
5) Voluntary sector organisations, e.g. Cambridge Refugee Resettlement Campaign, Herts Welcomes Refugees (23 Feb & 23 Mar)
6) Small ESOL providers, e.g. GLADCA, Essex Integration, Community Action Dacorum (23 Feb & 23 Mar) – CANCELLED

Please register for the one you feel is most appropriate and provide more information on your organisation. If you are unsure about which to register for, please choose one and we can discuss it in more detail if necessary.

If you have further questions, please contact Gill Searl,