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Language training models for health care & social service personnel Prepared by Dr. Samantha Wehbi for the McGill University Training & Human Resources.

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Presentation on theme: "Language training models for health care & social service personnel Prepared by Dr. Samantha Wehbi for the McGill University Training & Human Resources."— Presentation transcript:

1 Language training models for health care & social service personnel Prepared by Dr. Samantha Wehbi for the McGill University Training & Human Resources Development Project September 2005

2 2 Presentation Outline Introduction Current situation and need for language instruction Current situation and need for language instruction Literature review search strategy Literature review search strategyModels Common elements Common elements Model description: Summary table Model description: Summary table Examples of each model Examples of each model Impact on accessibility & quality of services of each model Impact on accessibility & quality of services of each model Models: Strengths & Limitations Models: Strengths & Limitations Recommendations Recommendations Course design Course design General recommendations General recommendations What would a model course look like? What would a model course look like?

3 3 Introduction Current situation & need for language instruction Ever-increasing socio-cultural diversity; Many health care and social service personnel feel unequipped to work with this diversity; Access to and quality of services are compromised by language barriers; The focus has mostly been on improving clients’ language skills with little focus on the role of professionals; Interpretation services are not always available, reliable or cost-effective; Language training for health and social service professionals is as an alternative to improve the quality and accessibility of services.

4 4 Introduction Literature review search strategy Literature review of journals, books, dissertations and databases (for reports on language training programs) Information was synthesized and three “models” of language training programs were drawn out

5 5 Models Common elements Needs analysis component Listening and speaking (some attention to grammar) Terminology and language skills needed for specific occupations or for specific work-related situations Cultural awareness component Practice component or homework Differences among the programs lie in the target audience; three main “models” can be discerned

6 6 Model Description: Summary table ModelParticipantsSkills Model 1: Teaching foreign students/ workers language & occupational skills Immigrants whose first language is not that of the host country Occupational skills of chosen profession & language skills focused on occupational terminology; oral & writing skills & role- playing; cultural awareness component Model 2: Teaching workers foreign languages Workers who speak the language of their country of residence; & are interested in better communicating with clients from linguistic minority communities General language skills or language for specific purposes; most emphasis on speaking; role-playing & cultural awareness Model 3: Teaching students foreign languages during their degrees Students who speak the language of their country of residence; & are interested in eventually better communicating with clients from linguistic minority communities General language skills or language for specific purposes. Some focus on the skill of speaking; others also focus on grammar

7 7 Model 1 T eaching foreign students/ workers language & occupational skills Course* at a settlement agency for immigrants interested in the health care field (with the elderly) in Canada Course duration: full-time/ 7 months Course design: 4 hours/day of occupational skills offered by a registered nurse & 2.5 hours of ESL by a language teacher Course content: home maintenance, lifting, personal care, health, physiology, etc. General English skills, specific English for health-care & job-search process 2 practica (total of 9 weeks) Improved self-esteem and self-confidence; acquisition of occupational and language skills _______________________________ *Source: Wong, P., Duff, P. & Early, M. (2001). The impact of language and skills training on immigrants’ lives. TESL Canada Journal, 18(2), 1-31.

8 8 Model 1 Impact on accessibility & quality of services Increased presence of health and social workers from diverse linguistic/cultural backgrounds Diversity of cultural worldviews and know-how Clients more likely to hear about the availability of services from within their own communities Clients more likely to access care once inside setting due to the presence of qualified professionals speaking their own language

9 9 Model 2 Teaching workers foreign languages Experiential learning course* for practising social workers from US (offered through university) Course duration: 10 days/full-time Course design: 3 orientation sessions in Spanish on cultural awareness and social work; cultural immersion through home stays with Mexican families Course content: 3 hours/day of speaking/listening and grammar skills for everyday functioning (emphasis on social work terminology); visits to social service agencies and daily social work/language seminars Importance of experiential learning for an understanding of the cognitive and emotional aspects of language and culture; increase of language skills and cultural competence ____________________________ ____________________________ * Source: Boyle, D.P. & Barranti, C. (1999). A model for international continuing education: Cross-cultural experiential professional development. Professional Development: The International Journal of Continuing Social Work Education, 2(2),

10 10 Model 2 Impact on accessibility & quality of services More workers able to communicate with clients from linguistic communities not their own (after 1 course) Interpretation problems are avoided Improved quality through an increase in cultural awareness; shedding preconceived notions about ethno-cultural minorities

11 11 Model 3 Teaching students foreign languages Introductory Spanish course* for upper-class nursing students at a US University Course duration: one semester Course design: classes 2 times/ week. Course content: speaking skills used in health care situations. Role playing, audio-visual material, homework, visits by health care professionals and social workers Importance of combining grammar and spoken language skills (to allow for further development) Importance of information about diversity of cultures and the socio-culturally appropriate uses of language ________________ * Source: Maier, C. (1986). Fitting it all in one semester : An intensive introductory course in Spanish for health-care personnel. Hispania, 69,

12 12 Model 3 Impact on accessibility & quality of services Students are given opportunity to build language and cultural awareness skills useful in practice settings Health care and social service practice settings have access to a greater pool of qualified bilingual (or multilingual) professionals Enhanced quality as clients are able to express their needs in their language

13 13 Models: Strengths & Limitations ModelStrengthsLimitations Model 1: Teaching foreign students/ workers language & occupational skills --Increases number of professionals from diverse cultures --Skills useful to general communication & specific occupational needs --Cooperation of professionals with course implementation Does not address the language training needs of workers or students who are in the majority of the population Model 2: Teaching workers foreign languages --Combination of experiential and in-class learning --Specialized terminology and language skills that are relevant to practice settings --Integration of cultural awareness content --Accommodates workers with busy schedules if the employer supports these endeavours --Professionals do not always have time or official employer sanction to take courses --Cultural awareness must be instilled earlier Model 3: Teaching students foreign languages during their degrees --Provides professionals with the necessary skills early on in their careers, with more time to integrate learning before being employed --Leeway to make mistakes and learn in a classroom environment --Students more focused on learning instead of having to “steal time” to be in a course --Combines in-class learning with experiential learning --Focus is on listening skills at the expense of grammar --Students may lose skills if they do not become employed in practice settings where they can apply them

14 14 Recommendations: General Start courses early-on in a professional’s training Conceive of language training as professional and personal development Build on basic skills through regular and continuing education Ensure the existence of institutional supports

15 15 Recommendations: Course design Tailor the course to student needs Combine language training with cultural awareness Focus on specialized language with some exposure to more general language Balance grammar and speaking/listening skills Focus on skills that allow students to understand the various aspects of language

16 16 What would a model course for workers or students look like? Duration: 2 semesters or 28 weeks long; meets once weekly (to accommodate busy schedules) 2 semesters or 28 weeks long; meets once weekly (to accommodate busy schedules) Instructor: Taught by a professional language instructor with the cooperation of professionals from relevant fields Taught by a professional language instructor with the cooperation of professionals from relevant fields Students: Participation limited to 20 students Participation limited to 20 students Participants from same field or profession Participants from same field or profession Content: Focus on speaking/listening with basic grammar skills Focus on speaking/listening with basic grammar skills Cultural awareness component Cultural awareness component Methods: In-class learning combined with reflection on practice experiences In-class learning combined with reflection on practice experiences Reliance on texts, audio-visual material, role plays Reliance on texts, audio-visual material, role plays Experiential or practicum component Experiential or practicum component


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