English My Way takes English language learning right into the heart of the community, reaching some of the most isolated people in 38 areas of highest language need. The 24-week programme boasts a fresh approach to English language learning, focused on supporting adults with no or low levels of English to better integrate with their local communities.
Over the three years more than 1,950 learners benefited from tutor-led sessions, rich multimedia online learning and volunteer-supported ‘Learning Circles’, with 70% progressing to an Entry Level 1 English course. Over half of learners (56%) reached were Muslim and 38% were Muslim women, 39% had no formal education and 37% were jobseekers.
Fresh online and offline learning content was developed for the final year of the programme. The practical scenarios proved particularly popular, with learners able to practice on field trips, and put their new skills to immediate use in shops, at the doctors, or at their children’s’ school.
Social settings, peer-to-peer support, native-language volunteers, outreach delivery and partnerships with key community partners all played an important part in the programme’s success.
Samina says: “I came to UK in 2006 to join husband after we were married in Pakistan. Was very difficult coming to UK with no English. It was very lonely. It was very scary, not understanding any people.
“Slowly, slowly, I started to understand a little. But it was very slow. Few words. I am so happy because this English My Way has helped me much. Much. It has made it easy to do things like go to the shops. Sometimes people don’t help so now I can talk myself.
“Sometimes before my husband helped me in the doctor but now I can talk myself there, too. It is a good feeling to talk myself. Long time I do not talk.”
Now Samina has found her voice, she’s found she’s talking in all sorts of situations she might have shied away from before, or had to ask for help. It’s been particularly useful at school. She continues: “I have four children, two in school, two in nursery so it is nice to talk to their teachers in English. I can find out more about how they do. I can know what my children say when they talk English.
“My English My Way teachers are very nice, very good, very helpful. Coming here is like being with friends. That helps me learn. It is very good.”