Teaching English to Refugees in a Multilevel Classroom

Haydeé Ramírez Lozada, Marjorie K. Perlaza Rodríguez, Juleise A. Escobar, Boris P. López Estupiñán


In order to assess the teaching of English to refugees in a multilevel classroom, a pedagogical investigation was carried out with the mixed paradigm: qualitative and quantitative, with a sample of six students who formed part of a family of refugees, from whom two were illiterate adults, two were adolescents and two were children. The adolescents and children had different educational levels, the first two were Senior High School students, one child was a Junior High School student, and the other one was in the first level of Basic Education. They were taught English for six hours a week in the Pontifical Catholic University of Ecuador in Esmeraldas, Ecuador, as part of a project of connection with the community. The analytic-synthetic and hermeneutic methods were used, with the technique of observation. A quasi-experiment was done with the use of a pre-test and a post-test. The results showed that at the beginning of the experience the students were not able to use English in basic communicative functions or with basic knowledge about the alphabet and numbers; but after using strategies concerning the classroom arrangement in pairs and groups and the use of a combination of methods for language teaching, the adult students were able to have some interaction in English with the younger students. One of the children (a girl), who was in Junior High School, participated actively and influenced the learning process of the adults and of the younger child, who had never studied English before. It is concluded that the English-language teaching-learning process to refugees in a multilevel classroom demands creativity on the part of the teacher, motivation, a combination of methodologies and needs assessment in order to find out the contents the students need to learn, which is in relation to the language of survival.  

Key words: teaching English; refugees; multilevel classroom; pedagogical investigation

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