Breaking the ice: addressing LGBT issues in the ESOL classroom

Language acquisition can be hindered if learners are not in an environment which is conducive to fostering a welcoming atmosphere where all feel free to talk about themselves. This is particularly relevant to LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender) ESOL learners. Through workshops and talks, this conference aimed to equip ESOL practitioners with practical ideas to address these important issues. October 2012, London.

Invisibility and framing of identity: 1 Introduction

Language acquisition can be hindered if learners are not in an environment which is conducive to fostering a welcoming atmosphere where all feel free to talk about themselves, their identities and personal lives. This is particularly relevant to LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender) ESOL learners. However, ESOL learners can sometimes display strong homophobic views, linked to culture, religion and personal beliefs.

Under the new Common Inspection Framework OFSTED identifies LGBT learners as a group vulnerable to discrimination. Through a series of workshops and talks, this conference aimed to equip ESOL practitioners with practical ideas, resources and skills to address these important issues.
 
This event was organised by NATECLA London. NATECLA (National Association for Teaching English and other Community Languages to Adult) is the national forum and professional organisation for ESOL teachers. There were three talks:
  1. LGBT invisibility and the heteronormative framing of identity in ELT materials - John Gray, Institute of Education
  2. Breaking the Ice, Addressing LGBT Issues In The ESOL Classroom - Laila El-Metoui, NATECLA London
  3. When ‘ordinary’ feels like a luxury - Sheila Macdonald, ESOL Lecturer, Adult Eduction, Kent.

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