Last Updated: Friday, November 05, 2021

Engaging with LGBT and migrant equalities: Activities for the ESOL classroom

What is this?

This learning resource is designed to facilitate an exploration of LGBT lives and an engagement with issues of sexual and gender diversity in the adult ESOL classroom. It explicitly addresses three protected characteristics under the 2010 Equality Act: sexual orientation, gender identity and marriage status. It draws on interview material collected for a project on LGBT migrants in Scotland. It includes a few real life stories from LGBT migrants that touch upon themes such as families and relationship, gender identities and homophobic, transphobic and racial prejudice and discrimination. It explores real LGBT lives and issues from a migrant perspective, and also addresses issues of span migrant equality and belonging.

Who is this for?

​It is for ESOL practitioners supporting the ethos of ensuring learners experience a safe and non-discriminatory environment. It is hoped that ESOL practitioners may be inspired by this resource to create their own material, using different stories that reflect the ethnic diversity of the ESOL learners they work with.​

​How to use this exemplar to improve practice

This resource will help to bring equality and diversity issues to the ESOL classroom. ​The resource comes with teacher notes, language focus and approaches to teaching the topics. The activities are generally more suited to learners at intermediate levels and above although some may also be used or adapted for lower level groups such as the Family and Diversity activity.

Improvement questions​

  • ​How well do we understand and challenge prejudice, discrimination and foster good relations?
  • How well do we welcome and celebrate diversity?
  • How effectively do we target our work to reach those most affected by diversity issues?
  • How well do we measure the impact of our work and what kind of evidence do we use in relation to equality and diversity?

Download(s)

PDF file: Engaging with LGBT and migrant equalities: Activities for the ESOL classroom (KB)

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What was done

The resource draws on interview material collected for a project on LGBT migrants in Scotland; it includes a few real-life stories from LGBT migrants that touch upon themes such as families and relationships, gender identities, and homophobic, transphobic and racial prejudice and discrimination. The resource explores real LGBT lives and issues from a migrant perspective, and also addresses issues of migrant equality and belonging.​

Why was it done?​

Exploring LGBT issues in the classroom presents specific challenges for ESOL teachers; these were explored in two focus groups with six ESOL practitioners held in May/June 2017. One of the challenges is a lack of teaching material, as sexual and gender diversity remain largely invisible in published English teaching resources. Other challenges raised by ESOL practitioners include lack of knowledge of LGBT issues, uncertainty about the correct terms to use when discussing such issues, concern about others’ feelings and reactions, cultural and faith sensitivities around sexual diversity, issues of privacy for LGBT tutors and learners, fear of being inadequately prepared to handle conflict or difficult conversations, lack of training and uncertainty about how to integrate the topic in the curriculum. While these are complex issues with no easy answers, this teaching resource may help to begin to address the challenges teachers face.

What was the impact?​

This is a very new resource and therefore is seen as emerging practice. The intention is to ensure that LGBT learners in ESOL classes feel safe, respected and visible, enabling them to talk more openly about themselves if they wish. It should also help learners explore sexual and gender diversity and prepare them for the reality of social life outside the classroom.

For ESOL practitioners, where exploring LGBT issues may create some discomfort or even conflict in the classroom, it is hoped that the resource can help create opportunities for dialogue that is underpinned by ground rules for respectful communication and openness​ to diversity.​​