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Derby College Teacher Gains Research Study Scholarship

An ESOL teacher at Derby College Group (DCG) has gained one of just ten places on a research study programme run by the Education and Training Foundation (ETF) and the University of Sunderland.

Sara Khan, who teaches adult learners at DCG’s St James’ Centre in Derby’s inner city, will complete the first year of the fully-funded programme both virtually and in person.

Her application for the research study programme is based on her experience of working with lower level ESOL learners – most of whom are refugees and asylum seekers.

Sara explained: “The importance of digital skills was brought into sharp focus during lockdown when all learning obviously had to go online.

“This was a particular challenge for lower level ESOL learners who are some of the most vulnerable in our local communities and face numerous challenges in their quest to start a new life in the UK.

“My research study will focus on how best to incorporate digital skills into the overall ESOL programmes to break down barriers to engagement and support these adult learners as best we can.”

Once completed, Sara’s research will be shared with colleagues at DCG and other FE and community learning providers.

She concluded: “I am honoured to be one of just ten FE teachers across the UK to be chosen for the research pathway and am already starting to test new techniques and undertake case studies to gauge the outcomes for the learners I teach.”

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