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Open Access A community-based public engagement with health experiment: Using English for speakers of other languages (ESOL) classes to empower immigrant communities with science

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Our previous work with immigrant communities identified a lack of awareness of infections such as gut worm (helminth) infections in their countries of origin, and a lack of English language skills around medical and scientific terms. Furthermore, people from minority ethnic and linguistic backgrounds participate significantly less in public engagement with science practices or informal science learning activities. We suggest this may be due in part to their lack of language skills around scientific English. To start to address these issues of scientific language accessibility, we developed a bespoke set of English lessons that dealt with the theme of infection. A set of six lessons were delivered to adult learners from a variety of ethnic backgrounds in English for speakers of other languages (ESOL) classes. Feedback from students was positive, with students taking the opportunity to share their new knowledge with teachers, other students and their families. All students reported that they felt this would be invaluable to them in their everyday lives. We propose that developing programmes of this nature represents a potentially fruitful avenue for more-accessible public engagement with research and health education practices.

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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: January 1, 2018

More about this publication?
  • Engagement with research goes further than participation in it. Engaged individuals and communities initiate research, advise, challenge or collaborate with researchers. Their involvement is always active and they have a crucial influence on the conduct of the research.

    Research for All is a peer-reviewed journal focusing on research that involves universities and communities, services or industries working together. Contributors and readers are from both inside and outside of higher education. They include researchers, policymakers, managers, practitioners, community-based organizations, schools, businesses and the intermediaries who bring these people together. The journal highlights the potential in active public engagement for robust academic study, for the development of involved communities, and for the impact of research. It explores engagement with different groups and their cultures, and features theoretical and empirical analysis alongside authoritative commentary to explore a range of themes that are key to engaged research including the development of reciprocal relationships, sector-specific communication and participatory action research. The journal is co-sponsored by the UCL Institute of Education and the National Co-ordinating Centre for Public Engagement.

    The journal welcomes relevant articles. See the publication homepage for details, or contact [email protected]

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