Talk English

Today marked the end of the Talk English project here in the Yorkshire & Humber Region with a celebration event for some of our inspiring and committed volunteers.


Over the past 9 months WEA Talk English Volunteers have delivered 12 courses across Calderdale and Wakefield to over 160 students and engaged a further 194 students in one off activities which have included visits to Art Galleries, Theatres, Libraries and even the Supermarket.


The Talk English project worked with people with low levels of English to help them improve their language skills and has been taught exclusively by volunteers who have given time and energy to helping improve the lives of others.

Volunteers came from a range of different backgrounds with different motivations but all with a common purpose, to help people with low levels of English improve their language skills. The project started with volunteers attending the WEA’s Introduction to Teaching ESOL course, at centres in Halifax and Wakefield, where they developed the skills and knowledge to begin teaching students. Some 10 weeks later volunteer ESOL tutors were out in their own classrooms teaching and it’s been incredible to see how far they have all come in such a short space of time. The resources they produced have been excellent as has been their ability to teach.


A big thank you to the volunteers and staff who made this project happen.


Talk English comes to Calderdale and Wakefield!

Ever wanted to teach ESOL?Talk English
Worried you don’t have the skills?

Volunteer as an ESOL teacher with Talk English!

Volunteer to teach learners on Talk English Courses and help people to improve their speaking, listening, reading and writing skills.

The Role
Teaching ESOL (English for Speakers of Other Languages) is a rewarding yet challenging experience. Focusing on the things people need to do in their everyday lives, such as going shopping, using public transport and going to the doctors, you will help learners to develop their speaking, listening, reading and writing skills.

Volunteering as an ESOL teacher is a great opportunity for you to gain experience and develop new skills while making a difference to peoples lives. By volunteering with Talk English you will gain experience of teaching, working as part of a team and working with learners from all over the world. You will also develop your communication, presentation and organisational skills.


What’s expected of volunteer ESOL teachers?
Volunteers will be expected to commit to a minimum of 2 hours a week for at least 12 weeks to co-teach one class a week with another volunteer in a community setting. The classes are for up to 15 learners with low level English skills.
Classes will take place in Calderdale or Wakefield only.

What training and support is available?
All volunteer ESOL teachers will be expected to attend and complete a training course to prepare them for their role.
We offer a 45 hour non-accredited training course which introduces the role and responsibilities of Talk English volunteer ESOL teachers and ESOL teaching, learning and assessment methods and resources. Throughout the course volunteers will be expected to complete assignments before doing a micro teach in front of their peers to demonstrate inclusive teaching and learning.
Volunteers will be provided with an induction and initial training before teaching starts and a range of learning materials to use in classes. Throughout the project, volunteers will be able to access teaching resources and continue with their training.
Training will take place in Calderdale or Wakefield only.

The Person
If you’ve got an interest in helping others, want to develop news skills, can commit to a minimum of 2 hours a week to co-teach ESOL in a community setting and able to attend the training course then we’d love to hear from you!

The Location
The WEA Yorkshire and Humber Talk English project will be running in Calderdale and Wakefield. You don’t have to live in these areas but you would need to be able to travel to one or the other to be eligible for this programme.

Want to know more?
If you would like to find out more about this opportunity please contact Adam Roe on 07966 254 323 or email You can also find more information on the Talk English website

Look forward to hearing from you!

Carnegie and Crocodiles …

In Keighley on 11 February, my students saw crocodiles and the first Carnegie Free Library in England. We didn’t have to travel far – just round the corner.

Keighley Free Library

Sometimes you can live in a place for years and not know a lot about its history. This was the case for the Keighley ESOL students who visited Keighley library as part of their course. For several of the group, this was their first time in the library. Some had only visited it before with their children and so this was an important first step towards more independence. By the end of the visit, those who wanted a library card had their very own and not one with their child’s name on it! They asked for the form, completed it, with support, and used it to check out their own books. One student chose a book in her own first language; it was a cookery book and she has promised to give me a recipe for one of the curries. From their conversation it appeared as if the library now belonged to them as well as “other people”.

Keighley Library Trip

Three learners sat at a table and spent some time looking at books about nature – animals around the world. Crocodiles caused a bit of a stir! But the real eye opener was the trip upstairs to the archive section. The extremely supportive staff showed students an old newspaper, stored on film. Old pictures of Keighley produced a lot of questions. Pictures of the restoration work led to a bit of guesswork and discussion “Where is that door?” “I’ve seen it…”

We looked at the photos during our class the following week. Use of adjectives, narrative, general conversation – the educational gains were enormous but general cultural knowledge was also shared and increased. One leaflet collected from the library was a 45 minute walk around Keighley to look at traditional buildings and sites. Guess where we’re off to next!”


ESOL class visit to Sainsbury’s, Trinity Walk, Wakefield

Sainsburys 18 Novem#8CBFC3

Posted on 22/11/2013 by 

Following on from our successful visit to the Library last term, the WEA ESOL class from St Swithun’s Wakefield visited Sainsbury’s supermarket at Trinity Walk, Wakefield on Monday 18th November.

In a session prepared and led by Sainsbury’s Commercial Manager Suzanne Linane the 13 learners had the opportunity to meet staff, listen to short talks, ask questions about healthy food and diets, taste some juice and samples of fruit and take home leaflets and recipe cards.

On a tour of the store, Suzanne explained the ‘traffic light’ system of labelling foods, and the Fairtrade logo and its meaning. She showed us how to find out the country of origin and learners examined and named the various vegetables on offer.

Later, Pharmacy Manager Sheryar Noor gave interesting and useful advice on healthy diets. He talked about the importance of calcium and vitamins, and the value of using olive oil rather than other types of oil in cooking.

Learners asked questions about the store itself and the history of Sainsbury’s. They were interested in careers in Sainsbury’s and in Suzanne’s experience of working there. They asked for tips for healthy eating, and had individual questions about types of soup, chocolate and different vegetables.

The visit has consolidated work already undertaken in this term’s lessons on the theme of healthy eating, and will be a valuable basis for work in future sessions.

I am most grateful to Suzanne for her thoughtful preparation for our visit, and for the warm welcome she gave us. It was a most interesting and valuable experience for us all.