Little did I expect to step into a treasure island of such incredible resources, teaching excellence and wealth of information. The course has rekindled my teaching spirit and given me impetus to pursue further study in this very pertinent and vital field.
The Hub is designed to centralise, standardise and drive the development of courses, resources, research, evidence and internal capacity for this specialised area.
Addressing the regional and global crises that have forced 68 million people into displacement and migration is as important now as ever. The sense of loss, hopelessness and homelessness they experience makes them a priority to support with learning opportunities. Being able to maintain proficiency and protection of the home language as well as access new languages to help foster resilience in host communities (inclusion) are central to our response. Our ability to convene expertise and resources means we are well-placed to manage a virtual hub centralising resources, courses, reports and best practice for professionals working in language learning.
The Hub’s mission is to provide a space to coordinate courses, resources, best practices, product development, refugee research, ethics, and thought leadership activity. These include:
- Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) hosted on FutureLearn called Migrants and Refugees in Education: A Toolkit for Teachers. The Community Language Support Programme delivered in Jordan.
- Policy events, conferences, exhibitions, launch events in the UK and Lebanon.
- Research and resources:2016 Role of Language Report, 2018 Cross Disciplinary Report.
- LinkedIn professional network made up of researchers, educators, partners and volunteers.
The Hub has built the capacity of over 200 teachers and programme managers in the region, working with educators and decision-makers to cascade knowledge to over 20,000 young people in their classrooms. After initially targeting educators in the MENA region, the accessibility of the digital Hub has led to an increasingly global audience on language learning with refugees.
The MOOC has been particularly successful, with three runs over the course of 12 months, reaching over 6500 teachers from over 140 countries. There are currently ten L4R teacher development modules.
Our digital reports are respected sources of information on best practices and trends. For example, our Role of Language report has been downloaded 3,200 times.
The Hub also performs key research, monitoring and evaluation, and communications functions with its growing external partnership network bringing together experts from around the world in an innovative space.
Our work in the Middle East and North Africa region has helped to position the UK as an expert in language teaching in emergencies. Relationships have matured with UK organisations and institutions that have collaborated with us on communications, events, and content development for the portfolio of programmes to support refugees.
We have built institutional relationships with UNHCR, UNICEF and Reading University to test concepts and approaches for long-term effectiveness. This places our work in the refugee response network, and increases the reputation of Language for Resilience work and the UK as a whole. The MOOC has positioned us as having a unique and important understanding of the power of language to protect identity and promote inclusion while maintaining an important apolitical stance.