Last Updated: Wednesday, April 22, 2020

ESOL Project Based Learning: Around the World in a Week

What is this?

This practice exemplar describes a partnership between community learning and development (CLD) and St John’s Primary School in Barrhead. It is an example of partnership working across different education sectors supporting the employability, ICT and language goals of adult ESOL learners. It complements a local primary school’s priority on inclusion and their Rights Respecting Schools Programme.

Who is this for?

This practice will be of interest to teachers in schools, ESOL practitioners and those working in community learning and development.

How to use this exemplar to improve practice?

Practitioners in any setting can use this model to replicate a similar piece of project based work , by using the language and culture of ESOL learners as the focus for language learning in the ESOL classroom. It can be extended to have a Scottish element so that all participating learners are included.

Improvement questions

  • How well do we actively seek out, promote and respond positively to partnerships that lead to better outcomes for individuals, groups and communities? How do we know?
  • How well do we meet the needs of learners? What evidence do we have that we are making a positive and sustained impact on their lives?
  • For working in partnership with a school:
  • How well do we enable parents, carers and families and the local community to contribute to the life of the school and be involved in school improvement? How do we know?
  • To what extent does our school celebrate diversity.


PDF file: Around the World in a Week Project planner (291 KB)

PDF file: Around the World in a Week Project timetable (378 KB)

PDF file: Around the World in a Week timetable (black text) (379 KB)

PDF file: Around the World in a Week Case Study (406 KB)

Word file: World Traveller Passport P1 (113 KB)

Word file: World Traveller Passport P4-P7 (90 KB)

Explore this exemplar

What was done?

The project involved joint planning and preparation between the school and the community development worker/ESOL tutor, which happened over the course of 8 months. The project focussed on the proposal that a group of ESOL learners from a community based ESOL class would visit a school and share their culture and language with the children. This culminated in a week long showcase event within the school where children “travelled around the world in a week” attending adult ESOL learners’ workshops on the topic of their culture and language.

Why was it done?

The school was looking for ways to make their school more inclusive of families with English as an Additional Language (EAL) children and to encourage their integration in school life. While many schools do a lot to help EAL children understand about Scottish culture, this project looked at helping Scottish children understand other cultures including those of the EAL children in their community. After an initial meeting with the head teacher, the ESOL tutor devised this project, partly to give her learners experience of using their English and gaining skills in a more authentic setting, but also to promote diversity and inclusion.

What was the impact?

The school’s approach to inclusion of EAL families and their integration in school life improved. The project allowed the school to highlight the importance of recognising the EAL children’s identity through the workshops. Giving EAL parents and children the opportunity to formally share information about their country and their culture, helped them feel included in school life and gave Scottish children a better connection to their EAL friend. You could hear the Scottish children greeting their friends in their first language, as the workshops unfolded.

Adult ESOL learners improved their employability prospects. Many of them wanted to work in education so having experience of engaging in a project with school involvement increased their confidence and understanding, which for some led to employment in schools in East Renfrewshire. Adult ESOL learners improved their language skills as well as their ICT skills.

Children in the schools increased their awareness of other cultures, diversity and languages and reported on how much they enjoyed “travelling around the world.” Creating a display and writing about their chosen countries, evidenced the benefit of the project to all the pupils in the school.