Legal Information Training for ESL Teachers

Project Name

Learning Through Law: A Legal Information Training Project for ESL Teachers Across Ontario

Project Partners

Lead Agency: FCJ Refugee Centre
Partners: TESL Ontario (Teaching English as a Second Language Ontario) and CCLCS (Canadian Centre for Language and Cultural Studies

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Project Summary

Provide legal information training to ESL teachers across Ontario on immigration, housing and some employment law so that ESL teachers can gain basic understanding of the areas of law that most impact their students.

Legal Topics for Training

This project will provide training on key areas of legal issues that immigrants, refugees and migrants who are attending ESL classes may confront and consequently would bring to their ESL teacher. Issues to be covered will be immigration and refugee law as well as aspects of housing and employment law that new immigrants would encounter.

Target Audience

The target community for this training initiative is ESL students who do not speak English as their first language. ESL students include people with a range of experiences and include international students, refugees, the full range of immigrants and migrants with precarious immigration status.

Key Activities

The training will be delivered through a series of face to face, participatory workshop sessions. The modules will be offered to ESL teachers and staff at a range of educational and community locations. We will include an on- line resource package for each module. These resources will be developed through a collaborative effort of the project partners and will include community resources that ESL teachers can use as referrals for students requiring further help. The initial session of the workshop series will provide an overview of the training and describe the range of issues that an immigrant or refugee might face through the use of video and personal stories. The modules will be organized and structured such that they can be offered consecutively over the course of two days, or spread out over a number of weeks or months.

Need for Training

Although there is a strong network of settlement services, many immigrants and refugees are unable to access these community based agencies because they are too busy working in multiple jobs, unaware of community resources, isolated by language or afraid or embarrassed to take advantage of a community agency.

Innovative Approach

This project will enable us to develop a whole new relationship with private language schools, or ‘visa schools’. School staff will gain a deeper insight into the many legal issues that their students may confront and teachers will subsequently be better prepared to effectively support and assist their students in navigating through the community to resolve problems.