As a family learning tutor, Karen works with people from all ethnic, newly-arrived and disadvantaged communities, takes them out of their comfort zones and introduces new experiences, opens doors for them and broadens their horizons. Karen has a down to earth and pragmatic approach to teaching. She has even introduced learners to contentious issues. For example, when working with a group of Sri Lankan women, she raised the issue of female genital mutilation (FGM). When it became clear that they thought FGM was common practice and not illegal, she was able to refer some parents to specialist support at the local Children’s Centre.
Karen said, “Cancer, FGM, Domestic Violence are taboos that need to be broken, myths and fears that need to be discussed, bought out into the open and debunked and de mystified. Ignorance is very powerful – but education and knowledge is even more powerful.”
Catriona Kelly, Karen’s nominator, said of Karen’s teaching abilities, “Karen is a superb tutor. She links introspective and isolated communities of mothers with the modern world, helping them: overcome challenges, build their aspirations and support them to help their children learn. It goes beyond English and Maths; she encourages them to change their lives for the better.”
Karen continues, “Teaching adults from deprived communities is a vocation, not a job. I instil in my students the same love of learning children have: the curiosity, the need to find answers, the driving force that propels people forward. Many move onto other courses and into employment or further education. I’ve even had two learners go onto level 4 qualifications – one to teach adults, and one onto a university accountancy course.”
Awards sponsored by