Brokering Britain, Educating Citizens: Exploring ESOL and Citizenship

Edited by: Melanie Cooke, Rob Peutrell

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Multilingual Matters
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234mm x 156mm

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This book addresses the politically charged issue of citizenship and English language learning among adult migrants in the UK. Whilst citizenship learning is inherent in English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL), the book argues that top-down approaches and externally-designed curricula are not a productive or useful approach. Meaningful citizenship education in adult ESOL is possible, however, if it brings social and political content centre-stage alongside pedagogy which develops the capabilities for active, grassroots, participatory citizenship. The chapters deliver a detailed examination of citizenship and ESOL in the UK. They address a range of community and college-based settings and the needs and circumstances of different groups of ESOL students, including refugees, migrant mothers, job seekers and students with mental health needs. The book draws attention to the crucial role of ESOL teachers as 'brokers of citizenship' mediating between national policy and the experiences and needs of adult migrant students. The book links together language pedagogy and citizenship theory with the practical concerns of ESOL teachers and students. 

This is a coherent, lively, ethnographically-informed critique of ESOL teachers being encouraged to broker official narratives of Britain at the expense of minority perspectives. Positive examples of students as partners in learning make this an authoritative and challenging contribution to the still sparse literature on nationalism, citizenship and language teaching.

Hugh Starkey, UCL Institute of Education, UK

This marvellous book provides an exceptionally powerful response to one of the biggest political, educational and linguistic issues of our day. It is extraordinarily coherent in the collective thinking that it articulates – thinking that is simultaneously radical and responsible, practical and creative, theoretically inspired while deeply grounded in everyday experience. A major beacon for years to come.

Ben Rampton, King's College London, UK

At last the study of education and citizenship has got the book it has been waiting for! In this exciting new collection a diversity of themes and perspectives are investigated to shed new light on old problems. This volume will be essential reading for anyone who wishes to keep up with some of the most exciting developments in the field.

Nick Stevenson, University of Nottingham, UK

An outstanding and thought-provoking collection of chapters that provides a sharp lens for exploring ESOL, citizenship and the often contesting ideologies that shape the curriculum and its enactment. Language, national identity, migrant integration and citizenship are probed in deeply meaningful ways, breathing life into the power of ESOL teaching to give hope and routes to often silenced communities. A must read for critical educators, ESOL practitioners, teachers across the curriculum, researchers and policymakers.

Vicky Duckworth, Edge Hill University, UK

A crucial testimony to how language classrooms can engage with diversity of voice in pursuit of re-formed citizenship. Vital reading for anyone seeking alternatives to the indignities of an ESOL that has become deeply securitized, nationalistic and productive not of citizens, but of a vulnerable 'dis-citizenry'.

Christopher Stroud, University of the Western Cape, South Africa

What is citizenship; and can the concept be a critical resource for progressive ESOL teachers? This vivid and engaging book addresses these urgent questions, combining principles with practicality and politics. Rarely has the discussion of citizenship been more significant than now and rarely has a book been more necessary. For anyone interested in ESOL and for anyone interested in what it is to be a citizen, this collection is an important and inspiring read.

Kevin Orr, University of Huddersfield, UK

[This] book will appeal to, and have something to say to, anyone who hankers after a more progressive politics, especially in relation to the notion of citizenship [...] one particular strength is how it informs writing on ESOL by incorporating ideas of the dis-citizen and socially embodied approaches [...] It would be of great use to practitioners, academics, and students. I personally will be asking my undergraduate students to read sections of the book. As a text, it is a valuable contribution that focuses on the agency of ESOL teachers and their students.

Prism, 2020

For ESOL teachers who feel they have been coerced into the uncomfortable position of indoctrinating migrants, promoting uncritical acceptance of what are nebulously described as 'British values', the upbeat and constructive nature of this book offers a far more palatable alternative. By exposing the duality of citizenship, and by conceptualising ESOL teachers as brokers rather than disseminators, Cooke, Peutrell and their contributors legitimise criticality and resistance as key citizenship skills. 

Post-16 Educator, 100

The chapters are insightful and inspirational. The arguments that were put forward challenge institutionalised, top-down ideologies and practices and consider the implementation of new approaches. New approaches that can influence the lives of ESOL learners and their teachers as well.

EAL Journal, Spring 2020

Here is a wealth of well-researched material which will be of interest not only to ESOL teachers but also to those involved in the educational and policy-making side of citizenship.

IATEFL Voices 278

[Here] we have one of the most informative and powerful volumes on ESOL to date. In addition, although not designed as a teaching handbook, the projects and pedagogical techniques showcased here will prove extremely useful for practitioners, as well as those involved in action research. I would recommend this volume as compulsory reading for all ESOL stakeholders—not only ESOL professionals, practitioners, and academics, but also politicians and policy-makers responsible for shaping the 'policy landscape' of migrant language education in Britain.

ELT Journal, 2021

I believe that this book is an important and valuable addition to the study of language and citizenship
and would make a welcome addition to any library.

Language Problems and Language Planning, March 2021

Melanie Cooke is a Lecturer in ESOL and Applied Linguistics, in the Department of Education, Communication and Society at King's College, London, UK. She taught both EFL and ESOL before becoming a researcher.

Rob Peutrell is an ESOL lecturer at Nottingham College, Nottingham, UK. He has taught both EFL and ESOL, and worked as a learning support lecturer.

Introduction. Melanie Cooke and Rob Peutrell                                                         

Part 1: Framing ESOL and Citizenship in the UK

Chapter 1. James Simpson: Policy and Adult Migrant Language Education in the UK

Chapter 2. Rob Peutrell Thinking About Citizenship and ESOL

Chapter 3. Melanie Cooke: ESOL Teachers as Mediators of the Citizenship Testing Regime                                                                         

Part 2: Brokering Britain in the Classroom

Chapter 4. John Callaghan, Tesfalem Yemane, Mike Baynham: Steps to Settlement for Refugees: A Case Study

Chapter 5. Michael Hepworth: Argumentation, Citizenship and the Adult ESOL Classroom

Chapter 6. Pauline Moon with Roseena Hussain: Using Participatory Photography in English Classes: Resisting Silence, Resisting Dis-citizenship

Chapter 7. Melanie Cooke, Dermot Bryers and Becky Winstanley: 'Our Languages': Towards Sociolinguistic Citizenship in ESOL

Part 3: ESOL and Citizenship in Migrants' Lives 

Chapter 8. Stefan Vollmer: Digital Citizenship for Newly Arrived Syrian Refugees Through Mobile Technologies

Chapter 9. Sheila Macdonald: Migrant Women, Active Citizens

Chapter 10. John Gray and Melanie Cooke: Queering ESOL: Sexual Citizenship in ESOL Classrooms

Chapter 11. Celia Roberts: From the Outside in: Gatekeeping the Workplace

Afterword. Rob Peutrell and Melanie Cooke: ESOL, Citizenship and Teacher


Postgraduate, Research / Professional
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