This research explores ESOL (English for Speakers of Other Languages) learners’ abilities in managing their everyday information.
ESOL learners are people who have settled in the UK and are learning English as part of adult basic skills. They are important because there are a significant number of migrants in the UK who lack functional English, and because ability in English has been seen as central both for social integration and unlocking individual capabilities.
There has been limited previous research about the information literacy of ESOL learners. However there is a growing body of research that explores the information literacy and behaviour of migrants more generally. Information literacy has had little impact on the practice of ESOL teachers, however the connected concept of digital literacy has received increasing attention. This convergence suggests that further research in this area will be mutually beneficial.
This project is a collaboration between an ESOL professional (Caroline) and an information researcher (Jess) and draws on expertise from the academic and community learning sectors. The outcomes of this research are therefore relevant to both the ESOL and information communities.
Jess’s doctoral research suggested that we need to understand more about how ESOL learners, particularly those with low levels of education and literacy, manage information in their everyday lives. In this project we are therefore exploring ESOL learners’ ability to manage information through participant-led research where we work with a small number of ESOL learners and their households. A series of home visits mean we will develop an in-depth understanding of their information management literacy practices. We will then use our research to offer these households personalised advice about their information management. The final stage will be to build from this to provide more general guidance to ESOL teachers and IAG (Information, Advice and Guidance) workers.
We are funded by a CILIP Information Literacy Group research bursary https://infolit.org.uk/