Boris Johnson’s report revealed that many immigrants living in London are being denied the opportunity to gain higher paid employment due to their lack of English language skills. Learning English by telephone was proposed as a solution to the problem, alongside learning English using the internet – the latter of course being a great idea!
Lack of access to English classes
Many immigrants in London cannot communicate well enough in English in order to integrate properly and become employable. With the reduction in EFL funding since 2010, the problem has become worse with many of the poorest immigrants unable to access suitable English language courses or other EFL training.
The three main areas suggested by Boris Johnson’s report, when looking at methods for delivering EFL teaching to immigrants, were schools, health services and volunteers.
The question of motivation
Those in shift jobs who find it difficult to get to classes will be able to access training by telephone and internet, however, one obstacle suggested regarding this telephone and internet training is that students can find it hard to feel motivation for self-study.
Here at My English Language, we think if the training materials are encouraging and interesting enough, most EFL learners will enjoy studying and make steady progress.
Many immigrants have such a strong motivation to learn English because they know with good English skills they will be able to apply for higher paid jobs and integrate into their communities more successfully.
English for integration and employment
The one problem with these ideas is that they will all cost money. But surely a well educated society is priceless.
Perhaps the most effective way to deal with lack of English language skills among the immigrant population would be to make English lessons free and provided at a range of different times to suit all kinds of shift workers. EFL students can then access the lessons as they need them.
The government will need to pour funding into this area but surely that should be expected – after all, education should be one of the most important areas of all for government spending.
What do you think? Should English lessons be free to immigrants?
Who should provide the lessons – where, when and how?