Collaborative idea generation for ELT

I am an immigrant

I am an immigrant posters

A series of posters with the tagline ‘I am an immigrant’ has recently appeared on the London Underground, courtesy of the Movement Against XenophobiaThe money to display the posters was crowdfunded, and the whole campaign is a response to the often negative messages conveyed about immigrants in the run-up to the UK elections in May 2015. You can read more about the campaign on the I am an immigrant website, where the image above was taken from.

What would you do with these posters in your classroom? You can make any assumptions you like about the context they are used in. Post your ideas in the comments below. All ideas are welcome (there are no wrong answers!)

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Comments on: "I am an immigrant" (6)

  1. Sara Wood said:

    Lots of ideas spring to mind – the first being that, if I had the technological knowhow, I would delete all references to the word immigrant & ask SS to predict the word. Secondly the quite clear language focus could lead to a class on past tenses (esp w/ since & for). And finally there’s loads of discussion material to be used a/c to level & location. Here in the Med this issue is v relevant (sensitivity required)! Finally I might ask ss to imagine that they had chosen (or been forced to emigrate) & ask them to write a similar text about themselves. Stick posters up around class, read & discuss. Or choose one of the people on the poster, imagine the reasons for their emigration & use it as a basis for talking about emotions….the possibilities are endless. Trying something today with a class of PET teenagers….

  2. Sara Wood said:

    First of all I wrote the word IMMIGRANTS on the board and asked ss to board adjectives related to immigrants. They came up with poor, thieves, killers, black, Chinese, different, victims. We decided which ones were neutral, which were negative and which were positive.
    Then I asked them if they knew any immigrants. They came up with some examples but failed to mention the obvious one – me! I pointed out that I am an immigrant but they all said that that was different. When we tried to establish why, we decided that it was due to my reasons for leaving my country of origin i.e. choice rather than necessity.
    Next I showed them the posters. They read them and then I asked if they might have written different words had they seen them before writing the adjectives.
    Next I asked them to write their own profiles similar to the ones on the poster. I didn’t give them much guidance apart from pointing out the use of the present perfect and the present perfect continuous. As you will see some of them read more like CVs than profiles. These are the results:

    I studied in Korea to be an optician and I have been working as a hairdresser for three years. I have one daughter and I have travelled to Spain to be an optician.

    I have been working as a midwife for one year and I haven’t seen any errors yet. I’m from Spain and I have been living in Ireland for three months.
    I’ve been working for six years as an events organiser. I speak four languages; Spanish, Catalan, English and French. I’ve organised important events like the Oscars, the MTV music awards and the Grammy awards.
    For 7 years I have been a teacher for children with special needs. I’ve travelled a lot because of my work. I’m from Sierra Leone but now I live in Spain.
    I have worked in hospitals as a surgeon in Africa and India. I have helped a lot of children with needs because of war. I speak four languages.
    I’m a publicist. I have been working on lots of projects. I have done the publicity of important films and brands.

    Plenty to improve on but I liked the basic idea!

  3. Hi Sarah,
    Thanks so much for these comprehensive ideas for using the posters and for returning to say how they worked. It’s great to see how your students have responded to them. The discussion on why students don’t see you as an immigrant is interesting, and one that I had on facebook not long ago. It seems to boil down to the negative connotations we attach to the word, and contrasts with expat which seems to have much more positive connotations.
    Looking forward to seeing how you use some of the other prompts on the blog!
    Enjoy your summer,

  4. These are great ideas, Sara! I particularly love the one about leaving out the word “immigrant” at first and getting students to predict the word. I look forward to trying this with my students.

  5. OMG! My wish is to be one of them. I would like to migrate and fulfill my dreams of becoming a nurse in Canada or UK. But I have to pass this freaking IELTS first before I can submit my application. I’m so frustrated now! I’m having my essays checked by a teacher from and hoping I can nail IELTS this time. It would be my 2nd exam on March 5th. These banners serve as my inspiration.

  6. […] few years ago (Almost) Infinite ELT Ideas posted an image of a selection of crowd-funded displayed in the London Underground to combat racism and xenoph….  This image was followed with the question, ‘What would you do with these posters in your […]

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