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The Learning Conference 2003

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Presentation Details


Bilingual Delivery of ESOL Programmes to Refugees - the New Zealand Experience

Jeff Saunders, Keryn McDermott.

Subsequent to legislation in 1987 to accept 800 UNHCR mandated refugees annually, the Auckland University of Technology established a community based on-arrival education programme to address their settlement needs. The staffing for this provision included ex-refugees who designed bilingual orientation programmes based on their own experiences.The crucial element in terms of the effectiveness of these education programmes was the contribution of staff who shared the refugee experience. As eighty per cent of those refugees arrived in New Zealand with either pre-literate or beginner level competency in the English language, it was acknowledged that bilingual delivery of ESOL programmes would best support the learners' progress. This paper details the bilingual delivery of ESOL programmes to learners from these backgrounds. It describes examples of bilingual ESOL delivery in New Zealand, the aspirations and achievements of students and defines the validity of this approach. Specifically this paper will address the efficacy of bilingual delivery of ESOL programmes as against native English speaker delivery and will include a description and evaluation of the effectiveness of community based Ministry of Education funded programmes for Somali refugees.


Jeff Saunders  (New Zealand)
ESOL Section School of Languages
Auckland University of Technology

A Pakeha ("Caucasian")New Zealander by birth, I have had twenty years experience teaching French, Maori and ESOL in secondary schools and tertiary institutions in New Zealand, Australia and Papua New Guinea.

Keryn McDermott

  • Bilingual Delivery of ESOL
  • Native English Speaker Delivery
  • Shared Refugee Experience
  • Pre-literate or Beginner Level Competency
Person as Subject
  • Keryn McDermott

(30 min Conference Paper, English)