'Sofa Class': Bringing the session to the learners

Hayley Nelson, Learn for Life Enterprise

Learn for Life Enterprise is a community hub based in the culturally and ethnically diverse area of Sharrow, Sheffield. They provide training, support, stability and advice in a safe, friendly and welcoming environment. Recently, Learn for Life had a group of asylum seekers who were reluctant to go to class or arrive at the right time. The ones who did turn up would wander in and out of lessons or just sit around on the sofas playing on Facebook.

Recognising the issue, the Learn for Life team decided to put on a class in the early evening, inviting people of mixed English-speaking abilities to join in. Instead of putting it in a classroom, they put it on in their social area, nicknaming it the ‘Sofa Class’. They engaged people through informal social activities such as football, Zumba or yoga, taught by a volunteer teacher.

As a result of their new activities, the learners started to engage more with the small teaching group and social activities - they even started using the available one-to-one help. The class started to grow and now has around 25 members, with these dedicated individuals going on to learn more English and attend regular classes.