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News article

English language teaching support for refugee volunteers moves online during lockdown

Published: 11 May 2020

student working at laptop

The University has a well-established relationship with the York charity, providing a range of support and activities for refugees and asylum seekers in the city. This includes training from York St John tutors who teach English language teaching skills to RAY volunteers. In addition, York St John language students work with RAY as volunteer English teachers in their second-year placement. 

Jessica Mosley and Simon Marshall are CELTA (Certificate in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages) tutors at York St John University and have been working closely with RAY to offer training to English teaching volunteers on how to teach online via Zoom. They are among the first teacher trainers worldwide to move fully online and use the platform for both their input sessions and teaching practice. They have trained 20 volunteers to deliver the online training with refugees so far. 

Jessica comments: “Lockdown during the COVID-19 pandemic has thrown us all into new ways of working. CELTA tutors are providing vital online training for volunteers at RAY, ensuring that potentially vulnerable individuals and families are more likely to be able to engage with government advice on coronavirus and stay safe. 

Carole Jackson, Volunteer Coordinator at RAY, adds: “We have received fantastic feedback from our volunteers so far. Online platforms are proving such a brilliant tool for volunteers to do other things too, such as entertaining the smaller children to give their mums a break.” 

York St John achieved University of Sanctuary status in 2018, in recognition of its work to create a culture of welcome and inclusion for asylum seekers. The University is currently running all its CELTA courses online, combining online self-study with hands-on teaching practice via online platforms. The online CELTA training has been so successful that the University has scheduled a further three courses for 2020.

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