ESOL for citizenship courses in the UK: Social integration, identity and the role of classroom pedagogy

Ameer, Sundus (2017) ESOL for citizenship courses in the UK: Social integration, identity and the role of classroom pedagogy. Doctoral thesis, University of Central Lancashire.

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In the 21st century, the UK government, through its immigration policy, has linked the English language proficiency of immigrants with their social integration thus, following an assimilative framework (Blackledge, 2005; Blommaert & Verschueren, 1998). This seven months mixed methods study investigates whether the goal of social integration of immigrants can be achieved through the ESOL for citizenship course and the ways in which this course can affect their identity. It also investigates the effects of the government’s policy on classroom pedagogy. The data was collected in Manchester and Lancashire county using semi-structured interviews with eight participants of Pakistani and Indian origin who were studying ESOL for citizenship courses, and questionnaires from seventy-four learners who had already gained nationality. Thirty-two questionnaires were also distributed among ESOL for citizenship teachers to investigate the effects on classroom pedagogy. A thematic analysis was then conducted on the data.
The findings showed that the course does not ensure social integration of immigrants as it depends on various social factors: language use, length of stay in the UK, type of neighbourhood, extended family in the UK, and decisions made by the family. The course does not help in changing the identity of the immigrants as the participants still wanted to identify themselves with their native country and only considered British nationality as a status. The political purpose this provision is serving has negatively affected ESOL teachers and their classroom pedagogy. The limitations of this study are that it was unable to observe the migrants getting involved in the community as well as to conduct interviews with the teachers. Future studies with learners of other nationalities can be conducted using ethnographically informed methods. This study refuted the claims made by the UK government related to immigrants’ social integration thus the need is to separate this provision from immigration and to provide support to teachers and learners.

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