Since Easter the theme for our English sessions has been ‘The Local Area’ and as part of that we have had two very successful trips into Hanley. The first, in May, was to the Potteries Museum and the second, more recently, was to the City Central Library. On each trip we had over 15 asylum seekers, both men and women as well as babies in pushchairs! None of them had visited the museum before and only a few had been to the Library, so it was a great opportunity to show everyone the excellent facilities which are available to them on their doorstep. After each trip we visited the Museum café for refreshments. Everyone was able to order their own drink and they enjoyed socialising with each other.
One of our most enjoyable classroom based sessions took place after the Royal Wedding. Sue and I brought in photos of our weddings and encouraged everyone to describe weddings in their own country. A very lively discussion followed. Mobile phones were brought out to show photos and videos of wedding clothes and wedding parties and we were shown examples of dancing from places as far apart as Armenia and Venezuela. We also did a demonstration of English men dancing, much to everyone’s amusement!
More recently, the group has been very interested in the World Cup. In our final session this week we held an extremely noisy and competitive ‘World Cup Quiz’ which the girls won!
It has been very rewarding to how much progress the group has made in learning English and hopefully some of them will be able to join the Keele classes in September. We have also enjoyed seeing asylum seekers from a number of different countries and cultures learning to communicate with each other and, whatever their personal difficulties, having fun and laughing together. We have tremendous admiration for their optimism and resilience and look forward to working with them again in September.