Volunteer Joyce describes how remote learning is working for refugees:
I am currently helping a woman in St Albans with reading every day for 20 - 30 minutes. She is reading The Secret Garden. We have the book online and work together on Whatsapp. She reads to me and I ask her questions about the book.
I am also teaching a seven-year-old Syrian girl in Istanbul via Skype. She and I meet once a week for an hour and discuss a chapter of the book we are reading. We read The Secret Garden and are now reading Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. I found both books online and we share a screen on Skype so that we can talk about the chapter together. I usually give her an activity that goes along with the book, such as writing a letter to Willy Wonka.
The most valuable thing I have found is recording these lessons on Skype so that the learner can listen to them over and over throughout the week. I feel that this is one invaluable tool that Skype or Zoom has that almost outweighs the benefits of meeting in person. The fact that someone can listen to our lesson several times throughout the week helps it all sink in, particularly the pronunciation of words. I do this with my own Arabic lessons and it is invaluable. When the lesson is over on Skype, the recording pops up in my account and I forward it on to the learner.
I believe this remote approach can work for refugees resettled in Hertfordshire particularly with the current social distancing rules. I’ve been helping one refugee to study for his driving test, and I’ve spoken to different families about incorporating remote reading and discussion sessions for both themselves and their children.