Brokering Britain, Educating Citizens Exploring ESOL and Citizenship Edited by: Melanie Cooke, Rob Peutrell

Paperback - 264 pages
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16 Sep 2019
Language, Mobility and Institutions
Multilingual Matters
234 x 156


This book addresses the politically charged issue of citizenship and English language learning among adult migrants in the UK. Whilst citizenship learning is inherent in English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL), the book argues that top-down approaches and externally-designed curricula are not a productive or useful approach. Meaningful citizenship education in adult ESOL is possible, however, if it brings social and political content centre-stage alongside pedagogy which develops the capabilities for active, grassroots, participatory citizenship. The chapters deliver a detailed examination of citizenship and ESOL in the UK. They address a range of community and college-based settings and the needs and circumstances of different groups of ESOL students, including refugees, migrant mothers, job seekers and students with mental health needs. The book draws attention to the crucial role of ESOL teachers as ‘brokers of citizenship’ mediating between national policy and the experiences and needs of adult migrant students. The book links together language pedagogy and citizenship theory with the practical concerns of ESOL teachers and students. 


This is a coherent, lively, ethnographically-informed critique of ESOL teachers being encouraged to broker official narratives of Britain at the expense of minority perspectives. Positive examples of students as partners in learning make this an authoritative and challenging contribution to the still sparse literature on nationalism, citizenship and language teaching.

- Hugh Starkey, UCL Institute of Education, UK

This marvellous book provides an exceptionally powerful response to one of the biggest political, educational and linguistic issues of our day. It is extraordinarily coherent in the collective thinking that it articulates – thinking that is simultaneously radical and responsible, practical and creative, theoretically inspired while deeply grounded in everyday experience. A major beacon for years to come.

- Ben Rampton, King's College London, UK

At last the study of education and citizenship has got the book it has been waiting for! In this exciting new collection a diversity of themes and perspectives are investigated to shed new light on old problems. This volume will be essential reading for anyone who wishes to keep up with some of the most exciting developments in the field.

- Nick Stevenson, University of Nottingham, UK

An outstanding and thought-provoking collection of chapters that provides a sharp lens for exploring ESOL, citizenship and the often contesting ideologies that shape the curriculum and its enactment. Language, national identity, migrant integration and citizenship are probed in deeply meaningful ways, breathing life into the power of ESOL teaching to give hope and routes to often silenced communities. A must read for critical educators, ESOL practitioners, teachers across the curriculum, researchers and policymakers.

- Vicky Duckworth, Edge Hill University, UK

A crucial testimony to how language classrooms can engage with diversity of voice in pursuit of re-formed citizenship. Vital reading for anyone seeking alternatives to the indignities of an ESOL that has become deeply securitized, nationalistic and productive not of citizens, but of a vulnerable ‘dis-citizenry’.

- Christopher Stroud, University of the Western Cape, South Africa

What is citizenship; and can the concept be a critical resource for progressive ESOL teachers? This vivid and engaging book addresses these urgent questions, combining principles with practicality and politics. Rarely has the discussion of citizenship been more significant than now and rarely has a book been more necessary. For anyone interested in ESOL and for anyone interested in what it is to be a citizen, this collection is an important and inspiring read.

- Kevin Orr, University of Huddersfield, UK

Author Biography:

Melanie Cooke is a Lecturer in ESOL and Applied Linguistics, in the Department of Education, Communication and Society at King’s College, London, UK. She taught both EFL and ESOL before becoming a researcher.

Rob Peutrell is an ESOL lecturer at Nottingham College, Nottingham, UK. He has taught both EFL and ESOL, and worked as a learning support lecturer.

Readership Level:

Postgraduate, Research / Professional

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