In this essay I intend to explore and examine the concept of equality and its implications for teaching a group of post 16 students whereby English is not their first language at Southall and West London College (S. W. L. C). S. W. L. C is a further educational college it offers a wide range of courses from English for Speakers of other Languages (ESOL) at various levels, construction, computer programming, I. T, CLAIT, Maths, Literacy, Numeracy and a wide variety of G. N. V. Q and N. V. Q programmes.
The student’s age’s range from 16 to 75 years old and they are from different ethnic backgrounds. The majority of students in the N.V. Q, G. N. V. Q, construction, computer programming and CLAIT are 16 to 19 years old and are predominately British, British born Asians or British born Caribbean’s. For the other courses the majority of students are immigrants coming from a wide variety of Asian countries, such as Afghanistan, Iraq, Iran, India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka etc. Their ages range from 15 to 75 years old; the students who are fifteen are unable to attend Secondary State Schools because of their lack of English Language Skills.
They are then referred from the local educational institutes such as S. W. L. C. At present I teach full time ESOL and I.T at S. W. L. C. The institute offers part time, full time and evening classes at various levels of English and I. T, from basic beginners to Advanced, this also includes literacy classes. The college prides itself in offering a good range of courses to meet student’s individual needs. Part time courses are popular with ladies, evening classes are popular with workingmen and the daytime full time classes are popular with 16-19 year olds. The times of the classes aim to coincide with students responsibilities such as collecting children from school, attending work, appointments with job centres, housing benefits, DHSS etc.
English for Speakers of other languages is the largest department within S. W. L. C. ESOL students bring in the most units therefore the institute receives a lot of funding. The college is in the heart of Southall, West London which is situated near Heathrow Airport. Ninety eight per cent of the population in Southall are Asians, Somalis, Afghanis, Iraqis, Iranians, and Sri Lankans etc. The local businesses are run or owned by people from the above nationalities. The role of the English language teacher is at times difficult as the local businesses; shops, banks, post offices etc.
can all speak multi national languages such as Punjabi, Hindi, Urdu, Farsi, Phusto, Somali and Arabic etc. Therefore the need and necessity to communicate in English has lessened in this town. Therefore the teacher’s job to motivate students has become more difficult. The students in August initially apply to learn English at the college. The institute advertises its provisions through multi lingual advertisements, posters, flyers and radio adverts. The students are then invited to the college for an initial assessment; translators are always available at the college if they are required.
An initial assessment covers all four-language skills, writing, reading, listening and speaking. The assessor asks the students personal questions and then to read and write sentences which are relevant to them. The assessor, the student and translator (when required) discuss the days, times and level of the proposed class. The assessor identifies the level of the student. The student then selects the most suitable class. The teachers teach ESOL at the first four levels via topics and they draw upon the grammatical points and terminology. They teach accordingly to the students needs.
The students need survival English for example for the shops, doctors, banks, and educational authorities, DHSS etc. The teaching is done through role-play, drawing upon the student’s prior learning and eliciting the English Language in a natural, non-threatening situation from the students. The teaching is done always in a contextual situation showing its relevance to the student always. In this essay S. W. L. C’s equal opportunities policy will be defined and examined and it will be discussed how the institute promotes this within the college and within the classroom.