Creative ESOL for EAL

ReWrite is a London-based charity that aims to break down barriers of prejudice and racism through drama and creative writing. This post, by Farha Bi, builds on her experience of running Creative ESOL with EAL pupils in London schools.

Rewrite has been working with young people since 2000 to improve English literacy and language skills as well as instilling confidence and building strong social relationships. Developed in 2008, our Creative ESOL is an established model of practice (featured in the British Council’s ‘Innovations in English language teaching for migrants and refugees’), supporting English language and literacy learning through drama and the arts.


What is Creative ESOL?

Creative ESOL is a creative language learning project which uses drama, play, art and music to develop English language skills, confidence and integration in newly arrived young migrants and refugees.

Our language learning sessions are delivered by a trained ESOL teacher and an experienced drama practitioner who work together to co-plan and deliver the workshops.  We believe that young people can effectively learn through play, relaxation and a creative space to express themselves engaging the body.

A creative ESOL group will meet weekly over a term or set period.  We usually run 2-hour sessions which are designed to be suitable for mixed level groups. A session begins with a warm-up exercise to energise the group, followed by an activity to focus participants.  Progressing on to smaller group work, facilitators will weave through target language in the classes.  Opportunities are provided for the participants to share back their work to the whole group.  Tutors then guide the group through a reflection activity, where they consolidate new language and share how they found the session.

Target language is weaved through the creative activities in the class. Monitoring and evaluation of progress is incorporated into the session with tutors weekly assessing individual participant’s progress and implementing differentiation methods from initial planning to each session.


Creative ESOL for EAL practitioners

We believe in the importance of disseminating our practice to support other practitioners and teachers who work with similar groups. Therefore, we have developed a unique and participatory professional development programme specifically for EAL coordinators, EAL teachers and Applied Theatre practitioners.

Our methodology offers an innovative, practical and creative approach to language acquisition which sets it apart from other EAL / ESOL training available.

“One of our new arrivals was very tearful and worried when starting at the school. His teacher came up to me recently and wondered how it was that the student was now so happy, confidence and making such good progress. To explain it, I showed the teacher what Creative ESOL were doing.”

EAL Coordinator, Holloway School




This March, we will be delivering practical trainings on our Creative ESOL methodology. To avoid disappointment, BOOK your place now!  If you have any questions about the training, please get in touch with Farha at or call 020 7358 7732.




The EAL Journal is published termly by NALDIC, the subject association for EAL. Visit to become a member.