A Framework of Good Practice for Voluntary ESOL in England
NATECLA is leading on developing a framework for voluntary organisations delivering ESOL to use as a guide to good practice in the sector. The consultation is intended for scheme co-ordinators rather than language volunteers.
Please rate the statements below and complete the comment boxes as appropriate.
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1. Coordination and management: National
1.1.1. The work of language volunteers should be included in the ESOL National English Language Strategy due to be published in 2019 to ensure that good practice is fostered and shared across England and complements the provision of paid ESOL teachers *
Strongly agree
Strongly disagree
1.1.2. Central government should provide, curate and moderate an enduring national website to share learning resources including resources that learners can access, such as the British Council ESOL Nexus project (https://esol.britishcouncil.org) *
Strongly agree
Strongly disagree
1.1.3. Central government should provide, curate and moderate an enduring national website to share training, CPD and learning resources for ESOL tutors and volunteers *
Strongly agree
Strongly disagree
Comment
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1.2 Coordination and management: Local
1.2.1 Language volunteers should be trained and coordinated by funded, qualified and experienced workers where possible *
Strongly agree
Strongly disagree
1.2.2. Coordinators should be responsible for monitoring learners' progress by regular discussion and review with learner and volunteer *
Strongly agree
Strongly disagree
1.2.3. Coordinators should link with IAG (Information, Advice and Guidance) departments in colleges and be aware of local providers to refer learners on to *
Strongly agree
Strongly disagree
1.2.4. Coordinators need to ensure that the organisation is part of a local network so that providers can refer to the voluntary sector *
Strongly agree
Strongly disagree
Comment
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2. Roles
The following section (2.1) is based on the more detailed descriptions of possible roles for a language volunteer given in the VIME (Volunteer In Migrant Education) project https://www.languagevolunteers.com
Organisations may have one or more of these roles within their service.

2.1 Four Roles for a Language Volunteer

Volunteer 1: ‘Assisting in the class’
• the main focus is to provide extra help in the classroom;;
• example tasks: reinforce and practice language, focus on particular areas of the learner’s language, facilitating differentiation.

Volunteer 2: ‘Practising language use’ 

• the main focus is on (oral) practice (individuals or small groups);
• example tasks: working on class homework together, practising roleplays, discussing a book/article/text together, playing language games.

Volunteer 3: ‘Providing opportunities for social engagement’
• the main focus is to support migrants to become independent through social engagement;
• example tasks: explaining necessary processes about daily life, acting as a reference point, going to local places of interest together, participating in activities together (gardening clubs, cooking clubs), or just meeting for a chat over a cup of tea;
• Volunteers in the workplace may support a colleague to understand work processes or health and safety instructions, eat lunch together or attend work events together.

Volunteer 4: ‘Promote and encourage language improvement’
This role is specifically for people in organisations that work with migrants, but not in a language education capacity. For example local GPs, housing associations, libraries, municipality councils, social workers, hospitals, children’s schools, NGOs, law centres, and migrants who are current or previous language learners. All people in these roles can promote language learning as part of their usual interactions with migrants.
• the main focus is encouraging people to improve their language by using opportunities in their local area through liaising with local coordinators; and also to promote the value of the host community engaging with migrants;
• example tasks: referring their service-users to language courses, encouraging migrants to participate in language learning activities such as conversations clubs, promoting benefits of language learning to their client groups;

ESOL learners are entitled to good quality teaching and for this reason, unqualified language volunteers should not be used to replace funded ESOL teachers *
Strongly agree
Strongly disagree
ESOL should be taught by paid professionals and the role of unqualified language volunteers should be to support language development *
Strongly agree
Strongly disagree
Comment
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3. Recruitment and Selection of Volunteers
3.1 Recruitment should be through an application process and interview with coordinators following up references after which volunteers should be matched to appropriate roles *
Strongly agree
Strongly disagree
3.2 At recruitment there should be a clear option to signpost those not ready for language volunteering to other volunteer opportunities such as administration or creating resources or to development work such as mentoring or training before volunteering *
Strongly agree
Strongly disagree
3.3 Providers should support and encourage volunteers from BME backgrounds and from local areas *
Strongly agree
Strongly disagree
Comment
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4. Training
4.1 Training should include safeguarding which should incorporate work on the importance of confidentiality, domestic abuse, FGM, forced marriage and hate crime *
Strongly agree
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4.2 Different courses should be run according to the experience and planned role of the volunteers *
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4.3 Training should be led by funded, qualified and experienced workers where possible *
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Comment
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5. Quality and Impact
5.1 All recruitment should include an agreement between volunteers and the organisation about expectations including, for example, a commitment to regular CPD and participation in quality processes. This would be specific to the role itself and in addition to any generic agreement about being a volunteer. *
Strongly agree
Strongly disagree
5.2 There should be an assessment of the impact of volunteer work which should includes student feedback *
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5.3 Volunteers should be guided to keep and share records of their work with participants *
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