Earlier this year I met a Polish woman in Luton who told me that the day before she had rung the school to tell them that her 10-year-old daughter was too ill to go to school. This was significant for her as it was the first time she felt confident enough in her English language ability to do this herself. Her husband had always previously made any phone calls that had to be made in English. She was so proud of herself. She was so determined to develop even more English language. She was inspiring the other women in the group, none of whom had ever spoken English on the phone.

Good Things Foundation is evolving, now we have even more emphasis on social inclusion and social change. Social exclusion is very broad; it includes unemployment, loneliness, isolation, and poverty. For a lot of people in the UK who don’t speak English, they’re affected by some or all of these issues. Our English My Way programme, which has been running since 2013, aims to help people with little English language integrate into their communities. That Polish woman in Luton was an English My Way learner and this week we’re celebrating the success of this programme – releasing a report, an infographic, videos and more.

Evaluating success

The ‘big news’ release is the final evaluation report from phase three of the project. This was the first time we’d put a particular focus on isolated women and we also supported community partners in their delivery through capacity building, identifying best practice, progression routes and programme/product development.

Headline stats for me are:

  • 2,789 learners completed the informal 24-week course designed to help people who speak no English to gain some everyday language for use in their daily lives
  • 63% of the learners reported improved English proficiency
  • 45% progressed onto a formal course to go onto that next step and develop more language skills (such as an Entry Level 1 ESOL course).

Seeing is believing

Sometimes describing a project and the impact it has on people simply isn’t enough. English My Way has helped so many people to improve their lives and we really wanted people to see that. That’s why we’ve put together some videos, which you can view below.

Nageswary is a learner at Benn Partnership in Rugby who fled her country after conflict meant she lost her house and husband. She’s a true inspiration and an excellent example of English My Way success.

The second video shows the group dynamic element of English My Way, which is one of the great parts of the programme. A lot of learners get involved because of loneliness or isolation and being able to come together in a group to learn something significant and life-changing helps them to overcome this and make friends. We filmed this video at Neighbours in Poplar in London.

What else is going on?

We’ve also released an infographic this week demonstrating the top stats from the first three phases of the project and from this we’ve created fun social media GIFs. My colleague Chris has also written a blog and we’ve released a special Delivering ESOL in Libraries handbook.

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You can download the full infographic on our website using the link in the paragraph above

There’s so much going on and rightly so because this project deserves all of the attention it gets.

This year we’re developing some mobile optimised online learning content and a taster of English My Way so that more local partners can use these resources to change more people’s lives.

Thank you to all the English My Way centres who have made the project such a success so far and a big thank you to the staff and learners who took part in our videos.

Original source – Helen Milner

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