Sanctuary Seekers’ Unit


There are a number of useful resources available for free online for anyone wishing to find out more about good practice when working with refugee-background students. We have compiled a few tried and tested materials below as a starting point.


Volunteering with Refugees (12 hours spread over 3 weeks) - this free Future Learn MOOC helps participants ‘understand how to best support the emotional, linguistic, and social needs of refugees who are settling into a new country’.

Working Supportively with Refugees (12 hours spread over 3 weeks) - this free Future Learn MOOC helps participants ‘learn how the principles of psychological well-being, communication and interpretation can benefit your work with refugees’.

Migrants and Refugees in Education: A Toolkit for Teachers (12 hours spread over 4 weeks) – this free Future Learn MOOC helps participants ‘learn how to teach and support young people across the globe affected by violence, conflict, or displacement’.

Language for Resilience: Teaching English to Refugees and Displaced Learners – this free British Council MOOC helps participants to ‘learn effective strategies and techniques to help make your classroom a safe environment’, including trauma-sensitive strategies, working with limited resources and managing challenging behaviour.

Articles and blogs

Towards a Trauma-Informed ELT Pedagogy for Refugees - this article outlines ways in which English language teachers might begin to employ strategies to mitigate the effects of trauma in their refugee background students, and how they might facilitate the conditions in which students might begin to move on and potentially thrive.

Developing Teachers of Refugees – this British Council article outlines useful strategies for working with refugee background learners in the classroom, taking into account their needs and backgrounds.

How to Address the Effects of Trauma in the English Language Classroom – this British Council article suggests ways in which teachers who work with students who have experienced trauma can address this issue in the English language classroom.

Podcasts and interviews

How Can I Teach Refugees, Migrants and IDPs Effectively? – in this British Council Teaching English podcast, teacher / trainer Brian Lally talks about his work and research in Lebanon with Syrian refugees, and identifies a number of core principles that teachers can employ in these situations.

Teaching Though Crisis – in this National Geographic Learning series of interviews, practitioners and researchers from around the English language teaching sector explore from various perspectives how we might effectively teach learners from refugee backgrounds in various contexts, and how we might talk about refugee-related issues in and out of the classroom.


The following organisations’ websites are a useful source of information about sanctuary issues locally, nationally and internationally:

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