for Refugees & those Seeking Asylum
Consultancy & Training
Training Consultant: Sharon Baker
Sharon has been teaching - and designing courses for teaching - English, French and Spanish as additional languages since 2007. She has been teaching English to refugees and asylum seekers since 2015 and, since 2017, she has been coordinating a very successful multi-learner and multi-tutor ESOL Programme for an organisation welcoming and supporting resettled families through the UK Government’s Community Sponsorship Scheme.
A video interview with RESET, which is the organisation with responsibility for the UK’s Community Sponsorship learning hub for supporting refugees, about the ESOL programme she set up and coordinates, is available on RESET’s Toolkit website. And an interview in which Sharon talks about the ESOL programme to the Institute for Research into Superdiversity (IRiS) is available here.
Sharon recently designed a full four level (Pre-Entry to Entry 3) ESOL programme / ESOL Toolkit for Sandwell Consortium, which is free to be accessed by anyone teaching ESOL. Sharon has also been training Hosts on how to support their Ukrainian Guests with learning English, including the lived experience of refugees, the implications of this on learning and teaching, and signposting to the most suitable ESOL resources available.
Qualifications and Background
Sharon’s qualifications include Master of Education in Applied Linguistics (awarded with Distinction in 2016); BA(Hons) English & French Language Studies; Diploma in English for International Communication (Spanish); CELTA (Certificate of English Language Teaching to Adults). Her Applied Linguistics research was from a Critical Theory perspective with a focus on Special Educational Needs and Disability.
Sharon teaches languages to adults and children of all levels, including students with SEND, and for qualifications including MFL GCSEs and A Levels, IELTS, DELE & DELF. She tutors PhD students in English for Academic Purposes and English for Employment Purposes. She also specialises in tutoring KS3 and GCSE English Language and Literature students with EAL. You can read many student testimonials here.
Fluent in French and Spanish, Sharon also has intermediate level Italian and reads Portuguese. She does some translation work (French-English, Spanish-English) and was previously National Development Officer and the Volunteer Coordinator & Trainer of an organisation supporting disabled people and their families.
Training and Consultancy Services
Sharon trains ESOL tutors for the purpose of teaching resettled people and asylum seekers. She also provides consultancy and training services to organisations and groups wanting to set up ESOL programmes for the refugees and asylum seekers they are supporting.
ESOL bespoke training workshop topics can include:
Creating full courses - Schemes of work, with core materials and supplementary resources
Tutor role and boundaries
Volunteer tutor recruitment
One-to-one v. class teaching
Power dynamics / implicit bias
Lived experience of refugees
Trauma / mental health & wellbeing - refugees
Vicarious trauma / self-care - tutors
Sensitive EFL/ESL syllabus topics
Dealing with ‘difficult situations’
Barriers to learning
SEN & Disability awareness
Useful resources for preparing to teach
Useful ESOL teaching resources
Tutor CPD: useful courses / resources
Maintaining learner confidentiality whilst creating a cohesive programme
Valuing home languages / promoting bilingualism
Child language brokering - dynamics / complexity
RESET - Welcome a refugee family into your neighbourhood
What is Community Sponsorship?
"More than 29 million people around the world have been forced to leave their homes and countries because of war or persecution. Community Sponsorship gives you the opportunity to welcome a refugee family into your neighbourhood and support them as they restart their lives, here in the UK."
IRiS - Refugee Resettlement Toolkit
Institute for Research into Superdiversity
"To support the refugee resettlement process, IRiS has developed a toolkit and range of resources to inform and assist local authorities and practitioners working with refugees."
Refugee Council - Get Support
Championing the rights of refugees
"We stand up for the rights of refugees and people seeking asylum – exploring the issues that affect them, informing the public, and working for fairer government policy." Advice for new refugees
UN - Universal Declaration of Human Rights
All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights. They are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood.
Linguatrust [Sharon's national language services] developed, piloted and customised an online Toolkit for the Sandwell Language Network (SLN) in 2021-22, as part of a boroughwide community ESOL programme. The result is a fantastic online resource for ESOL Tutors for basic/pre-entry skills level upwards, adaptable for informal community settings as well as more formal learning environments. We invited Sharon from Linguatrust to speak at the celebration event of the SLN programme in July 2022. She presented the Toolkit and spoke with in-depth knowledge and passion about the importance of language learning for wellbeing as well as to address social, health and economic inequalities. We're delighted to have the Toolkit as part of the legacy of the programme and would be very happy to work with Linguatrust again in the future.
- Louise Kilbride, CEO, Sandwell Consortium CIC
Eden Church runs an ESOL programme aimed at displaced people groups who have fled conflict in their own countries. We have used the services of Linguatrust for the past 4 years in a consultancy capacity. I cannot recommend Sharon highly enough. Her knowledge around these issues is extensive and her support and advice timely, effective and appropriate. She has been a valuable source of advice when dealing with complex issues and has offered training opportunities and workshops to further enhance the knowledge and skills of staff. She has been, and continues to be, a valuable asset to our work.
- Janice Watts, ESOL Coordinator, Eden Church
I think 5 stars are unjustifiable and inadequate for describing the work of Sharon! Regardless of the warm nature of her character, she is an amazing professional who will guide you according to your personal needs and the nature of the task you ask her to assist you with. The fact she speaks many languages and has lived outside the UK gives her the skills and knowledge to teach you how to write and speak accordingly, and easily reach you to the level of a native speaker. I asked Sharon to assist me improving my English academic writing skills, for implementing my PhD thesis. Within a period of three months my writing skills were improved dramatically. Proof of this are the 30k words consisting one of my chapters, that i wrote within a month. No note here that i had zero writing skills, adding to this that I had to write not at my native language. Also, with her proof reading I managed to deliver an excellent chapter for the continuation of my thesis. There is not much to think regarding the quality of professionalism she delivers. Just email her for checking the validity of my words and have the chance to experience what I am describing.
So pleased I found Sharon! I own a Spanish restaurant, Bar Limón. Sharon has translated several texts and documents from Spanish to English and English to Spanish. She has excellent cultural knowledge –ensuring Bar Limón provides an authentic Spanish / Hispanic experience. Sharon was professional, accurate and prompt. To sum up a pleasure to work with and I wouldn’t hesitate to call upon her services again
- Lucy Dunlop, Owner of Bar Limón
Sharon played a key role in helping my son to prepare for his French GCSC exams this year. My son was getting a little discouraged with his French lesson as he was not receiving proper support from his school. His grades weren't progressing towards his desired level. Sharon worked really hard with him to ensure he received the guidance and support he needed. Sharon had an in-depth knowledge of the GCSE French syllabus and the exam requirements, as well as a huge variety of resources and materials to draw upon and a solid teaching experience. My son really enjoyed his lessons with Sharon, and found her to be patient, motivating and encouraging, and this, in turn, helped him to attain a high grade in his recent GCSC exams. Although my son will not be doing French for his A Levels, he has decided to continue having regular lessons with her so he can continue to improve his knowledge of the language. Thank you, Sharon, for being an amazing tutor!
- Binder K
An amazing teacher who starts the lesson with 'Buenos días' and goes on speaking in Spanish. I was shocked that my son who never spoke in confidence started speaking fluently. Sharon made my son so comfortable and confident that he started paying more attention to Spanish which he always thought he will never pass. He's got an excellent Spanish result in his GCSE's and thanks to Sharon, mum is thinking of taking classes too. :) Highly recommend her to everyone. Amazing lady with great personality and your kids/yourself I believe will succeed! Thank you Sharon!