We have compiled tools for teaching ESOL, health and human rights, resources for mindful teaching techniques, and opportunities to get involved with trusted organizations worldwide.
Each program here: ESL, health and wellness, and human rights, are non-exclusive; each should be used as a touchstone for another. A most definite channel exists between ESL and health literacy. This channel is best defined as “the ability to use English to solve health-related problems at a proficiency level that enables one to achieve one’s health goals, and develop health knowledge and potential” (Singleton, 2002, p.3). All the more, it is equally important to use the ESL classroom and the disseminating language barrier to allow learners to not only learn English-language vocabulary but to also learn their allowed rights and health opportunities.
The role of a language teacher is paramount in leveling language barriers, creating bridges to opportunity, success and wellbeing. Knowing the language in a foreign country is a preventative assurance of one’s well being, providing opportunity and platforms for safe choices. Language barriers prevent a person from seeking help. A lack of opportunity creates isolation which create understandable mental health challenges. The process of learning also counteracts an all too common violation of basic rights which is refugee warehousing, feeding off the powerlessness of survivors of war-trauma. A classroom, whether it be a class of pupils or just one person, in a room or on a step outdoors, should always be presented as a secure and safe environment for the learner, an atmosphere that focuses on cooperative, individual skill development. A safe space allows any learner to express strong emotions without fear of their rights violated or the process of their legality threatened. In many cases, the classroom serves as a source of social support, nurturing an emboldened opportunity for connections to form across cultures as students communicate and recognize commonalities of their experiences. Learning in all its forms is empowering. Developing skills and learning, focusing on the now, given a helpful hand, these are the nutrients of positive self-worth. Displacement-related stressors are not all contingent on language learning, however the empowerment of learning is exceptional in improving mental health invariably.