The University of Kent’s language learning resources developed by ‘The English Hub for Refugees’ have been adopted by teaching staff of HMP Oakwood (Wolverhampton) under lockdown.
Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, and with their tutors unable to attend the prison and inmates lacking access to phones or online learning equipment, ESOL (English for Speakers of Other Languages) tutors at HMP Oakwood have taken to using Kent’s resources so that inmates can continue with their language learning during the lockdown.
Led by the Department of English Language and Linguistics in the School of European Culture and Languages (SECL), the project helps refugees and asylum seekers gain the English language skills needed to integrate into their new communities and access mainstream education and jobs. Apart from the weekly English classes offered, the project also develops language learning materials for refugees and migrants, which are freely available in the project’s website.
HMP Oakwood will be using the University’s resources, which were created for different proficiency levels and tailored to refugees and migrants with consideration for the needs of institutions teaching these learners. The resources are free and downloadable, meaning they can be printed out by tutors working from home and sent into HMP Oakwood for inmates to continue with their learning without the need to have access to computers or the internet.
Dr Gloria Chamorro, Lecturer in Applied Linguistics at the University of Kent and leader of the project said: ‘We are delighted to know The English Hub for Refugees is showing its use for learners and teachers throughout this lockdown. Whilst the resources weren’t created with the prison service in mind, this shows the need for this type of resources and the programme’s adaptability for English language learners everywhere.’
The University’s resource-filled website for English language learners can be found here: https://research.kent.ac.uk/theenglishhubforrefugees/resources/