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Veteran ESL teacher makes house calls for Syrian migrants

Veteran ESL teacher makes house calls for Syrian newcomers

More ESL teachers are needed to help refugee families

Robert Liddiard (left) teaches students Alaa Al Radi and Abrahim Soloume Yosfam with the help of a picture dictionary.

KENNETH APPLEBY / FOR METRO

Robert Liddiard (left) teaches students Alaa Al Radi and Abrahim Soloume Yosfam with the help of a picture dictionary.

Robert Liddiard’s philosophy for teaching English as a second language (ESL), is simple: if they’re having fun, the language will follow.

Liddiard, who has nearly two decades of ESL teaching experience, is now using his skills to make house calls for a group of Syrian refugees. Metro sat in on one of their classes and Liddiard’s philosophy was clear in all his lessons.

Robert Liddiard teaches refugees ESL classes right in their own homes.

KENNETH APPLEBY / FOR METRO

Robert Liddiard teaches refugees ESL classes right in their own homes.

“I like to do vocal warm-ups and play acting to help teach English,” he said. “When they’re really enjoying themselves the language comes much easier.”

While Metro was visiting, the group of five adult students put on a small performance of the classic story Andrew’s Loose Tooth by Robert Munsch. Using simple phrases and words the refugee students were able to tell, and in turn, understand the story.

“I’m happy with this,” said Abrahim Soloume Yosfam, one of the students, who was a teacher back in Syria.

Abrahim, who began resettling in Canada in February, said the lessons have been very helpful for him and his friends. He said they’re learning a lot from Liddiard.

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