In collaboration with our Community Action team, High Trees are exploring how we can introduce elements of Community Organising and social action into our core ESOL curriculum. We piloted our new training with an E2 group of students in which they talked about different types of communities, the communities they themselves felt they belonged to, community problems and solutions and how the community organising framework can provide a structure for individuals and groups wanting to take action in their communities. The students engaged incredibly well with the session, and really enjoyed the opportunity to discuss their experiences of communities in the UK and their countries of origin. One Bulgarian student talked about how older people in Bulgaria were far more present in the community and would gather in local bars every evening and another student talked about how he would like to use his love of animals to set up a charity to offer older people companionship. We plan to introduce community organising into all of our ESOL classes from January 2021.
In November 2020, we also ran the first Introduction to Community Organising training for ESOL for a newly formed Latin American Parent Association Group. The course run by our tutor and Community Action Manager and by our ESOL quality tutor Elly, was completely adapted to accommodate the low levels of English of some of the attendees, therefore materials were revised to be accessible as possible. Over the three sessions, the group discussed important principles of Community Organising, how to deliver the Community Organising framework and skills, such as active listening. They left with a clearer understanding both of what Community Organising is, and their next steps to action.
“Thank you for a really inspiring 3 Saturdays. We learnt so much and look forward to putting it into practice. I think the structure and activities worked really well and you were amazing at explaining complex things in simple ways”