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Online course

Volunteering with Refugees

This course aims to help volunteers understand how they can best support the linguistic and social needs of refugees.

Volunteering with Refugees

Understand and support the social and linguistic needs of refugees

This course is designed to give volunteers an understanding of the backgrounds, current situations and needs of refugees from a wide range of contexts. The course provides strategies and techniques for supporting the diverse needs of refugees and has a specific focus on language support, which may be provided in formal or informal settings (e.g. classrooms or informal support groups). The course has been developed by a group of experts from Crisis Classroom and Cambridge English.

Skip to 0 minutes and 19 secondsHello, I'm Kate, and I'm the Co-Founder of Crisis Classroom. Volunteering with Refugees has been built in partnership with Cambridge English to support people working on a voluntary basis with refugees and asylum seekers. The aim of the course is to raise awareness about the emotional and linguistic needs of learners who are settling in to life in a new country. So the main needs for refugees, especially if we're talking of children, are the opportunity to be children. Literacy might be an issue, if they're coming from a country with a totally different alphabet. If they've never studied English before, then that'll be very, very useful for them to learn to read.

Skip to 0 minutes and 57 secondsFamiliarising them with ABC's and numbers, because that is very different from their mother language, Arabic. A lot of the things they're reading for University in English. And they're just looking for a better future and know that English as a universal language is going to help. In the first week of the course, we'll be looking at the different contexts where you might be working with refugees. You might find that this is a formal context, such as the classroom, or you might be working in English in a much more informal way in a cafe or in a park.

Skip to 1 minute and 29 secondsFor me, one of the most important things to start with is how engaging this activity is going to be for your learner or learners. We've used articles about successful refugees, people like Yusra Mardini, who's from Syria. She swam a boat to safety in the Mediterranean and then she got chosen for the Olympic swimming team. She's now living in Germany. In Week 2, we're going to be taking a closer look at the potential barriers to learning that your students might face. Whether this is because they come from different educational backgrounds, speak different languages, and also the impact of having to begin again, in a new language, in a new city.

Skip to 2 minutes and 7 secondsFor many refugees arriving from Syria to receiving countries such as Lebanon, Jordan, Turkey, they come with only Arabic. The most important thing for most refugees is the ability to integrate well into the new community and find new relationships, In the final week, we'll be looking at developing resources so that you can support your learners to become as confident as possible in using English. My activities are quite art oriented. So every time I start with an arts and crafts activity. And there's always a storybook session. A lot of work that I do with refugees in this context is music making workshops; fun activities, playing games, making music together, writing songs together.

Skip to 2 minutes and 51 secondsBut I've also been involved with other kinds of activities like cooking activities and reading. I'm quite good one-to-one with people, so often you'll find that people just want to sit and have a nice conversation. The aim of this course is to enable you to become as effective as possible, what ever your volunteering role. I look forward to continuing this journey with you.

What topics will you cover?

  • Refugees' contexts and needs
  • Linguistic and cultural differences
  • Building relationships: topics and activities

  • The Crisis Classroom
  • Understanding and working with trauma
  • Using the Crisis Classroom Framework

  • Structuring learning
  • Supporting learning
  • Resources for language learning and refugee support
  • When would you like to start?

    • Date to be announced

    What will you achieve?

    By the end of the course, you'll be able to...

    • Discuss key linguistic and social needs of refugees in a range of contexts
    • Identify activities for interacting with refugees
    • Identify and describe behaviours associated with trauma
    • Design psychosocially protective activities to help refugees feel comfortable with learning
    • Evaluate a range of teaching strategies and approaches for supporting language development
    • Explore a range of resources for language teaching and refugee support

    Who is the course for?

    This course is designed for people either currently volunteering or planning to volunteer to support refugees and asylum seekers. The focus of the course is on providing appropriate linguistic support which takes account of the needs and future plans of diverse groups of refugees. Previous teaching experience will be helpful but is not essential.

    Who will you learn with?

    Kate McAllister

    I am co-founder of Crisis Classroom & Rethinking-Ed. I've been a Director of Entrepreneurship, Head of Languages, classroom teacher and teacher trainer. I'm very passionate about teaching & learning!

    Monica Poulter

    Teacher Development Manager at Cambridge Assessment English with over 20 years’ experience developing qualifications for English language teachers.

    Darren Abrahams

    I am a coach, therapist, trainer and singer. I am co-founder of Crisis Classroom, supporting volunteer and professional teachers to work with people who cannot access education.

    Who developed the course?

    Cambridge Assessment English is part of the University of Cambridge. We help millions of people learn English and prove their skills to the world.

    Crisis Classroom trains volunteer and professional teachers to create life-saving and life-changing education for people who find themselves in crisis both inside and outside the system.

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    Join this course

    Free

    • Access to this course for 5 weeks
    • Includes any articles, videos, peer reviews and quizzes

    Upgrade - $49

    • Unlimited access to this course
    • Includes any articles, videos, peer reviews and quizzes
    • Certificate of Achievement to prove your success when you're eligible
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