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  • Writer's pictureNatasha at Jacari

Jacari Stories: Ijay and Myles


Student volunteer helping boy learn English

Last summer, 12-year-old Ijay* arrived in the UK from Saudi Arabia. Originally from India, he speaks Malayalam with his family and only began learning English when he started at his secondary school in Oxford. He was referred to Jacari by his school teacher because he needed extra support to help him learn English, to engage with lessons in the classroom and grow in confidence at school. Since February, Ijay has been working with his Jacari tutor, Myles, a student at the University of Oxford. Ijay and Myles meet for weekly Jacari lessons at Ijay’s school.


Myles told us that the support he offers Ijay goes beyond curriculum and language skills. He wanted to show Ijay how much fun can be had within the school environment and engage him with learning by exploring the things he likes, for example rockets, engineering and wildlife. Ijay is an intelligent and curious young person and Myles had identified how to channel this by focusing lessons on his interests and coming up with activities around these. The highlight for Myles has been seeing the moments of progress as Ijay rises to the challenge of more and more complex reading and writing tasks.


His school teacher is so pleased that Myles is able to be flexible to Ijay’s distinct learning style. She sees this as one of the best things about Jacari. She said ‘Jacari volunteers work with the warp and weft of each individual student - and that is a very beautiful thing.’


She reported that it was wonderful to see Myles and Ijay when they went on an imaginary skiing trip together. Ijay learns best holistically and this activity allowed him to combine visuals, feeling and imagination to develop his language skills and confidence.


Ijay told us how much he enjoys lessons with Myles, especially because he has made learning fun and he loves playing games, being creative and using his imagination. His teacher is so pleased with how Ijay responds to Jacari lessons. She said: ‘Jacari is the first time any of us have seen him so jubilant about a weekly learning engagement.’


*all names of pupils in our Jacari Stories have been changed

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