MobileBE - Examples of good practice (IO-1) - Example DE07
KOMPASS: Literacy training for employees in nursing homes
German experts estimate that about 7.5 million people between 18 and 65 do not have the basic skills in reading and writing they need to be able to fully participate in our society.
Current studies show that about 60% of these people are employed. Quite a number of them work in the service sector, e.g. nursing. They work as assistants although they might have the potential to complete a professional training. Others do not yet have the self-confidence to work. The VHS located in Göttingen identified these two groups of people as a chance for Germany to increase the number of skilled nurses and to acquire new potential assistants for nursing.
As the VHS Göttingen Osterode gGmbH has been running classes for so-called functional illiterates for about three decades and profits from close professional contacts to elderly homes, the VHS in Göttingen decided to focus on the following idea: to identify two new target groups for a training in nursing together with a profound support in reading and writing. Assistants already working in elderly homes form one group and unskilled, unemployed people the other.
VHS in Göttingen invented the project KOMPASS (English "Compass", see: www.vhs-kompass.de) funded by the Federal Ministery for Education and Research. The overall idea was to create a model to qualify functional illiterates for nursing. In order to do so VHS cooperated closely with an adult education center having a clear profile in nursing. Furthermore VHS worked together with elderly homes and the local job center. All these partners were vital to put the idea into practice.
Target group (recruitment, motivation):
KOMPASS has got two target groups. The first one (nursing assistants already working in elderly homes) was found by contacting the management of elderly homes in Göttingen and close to Göttingen. The first question asked was: "Do you employ assistants you think highly of but who have difficulties in reading and writing?" Almost all of them said yes. The management agreed to further education for their assistants when they learnt that the time was compensated by sending a course participant doing an internship to the elderly home.
The second target group (unskilled, unemployed people who could imagine working in elderly homes) was found via the local job center or via contacts VHS already had to participants of reading and writing classes.
KOMPASS ran two classes with 8 participants each. People working already as assistants in elderly homes went to one class and unemployed people with an interest in nursing went to the other class. All of them belonged (more or less) to the target group of so-called functional illiterates.
The following keys of success were identified:
- Team teaching
- Instructors/ teachers with an understanding of the special needs of functional illiterates.
- Strong ties to the educationalists being responsible for the whole project (psychological support).
- Mutual understanding via regular meetings: Instructors teaching basic skills must have an understanding of what is going on in nursing lessons and vice versa: Instructors teaching nursing must have an understanding of what is going on in basic skills lessons.The better they support each other the better the success of the class.
- Special learning material: basic information, big font, not to many sentences on one page, illustrations.
Unemployed people have to do an internship of at least two weeks in an elderly home to check whether nursing is a suitable work.
The potential participant fills in a questionnaire together with the educationalist. By doing so the educationalist gets a first impression of reading and writing skills. An informal talk gives an idea of the competences of the interested person.
Validation of learning outcomes
At the end of the class the participants sit a written exam and do a practical exam. This exam is difficult for the participants but they can pass it. In Göttingen only one participant failed the exam. The others were extremely proud to have passed it.
The participants improve their reading and writing skills and their knowledge of nursing. Some might want to go on learning by starting a proper training for nursing. The Göttingen model shows that all participants gained self-confindence. All participants found a job. A small number even started a proper training. Elderly homes, course participants and elderly people living in elderly homes do profit from this class. The participants started to earn their own living and the elderly homes found new employees. This is a vital contribution to our society.
MobileBE - Examples of good practice (IO-1) - Example FR04
“Ouvrir l’école aux parents” - Opening school to parents
Opening school to successfully integrate: a program set up in the PACA Region
Some background information…
Almost 500 000 foreigners live in the Provence-Alpes-Cote d'Azur (PACA) region (482 800). These statistics are however very relative. In PACA, 45% of foreigner people have acquired the French nationality. In 2014, in Carpentras, a town located in the Vaucluse department (PACA region), the immigrant population represented more than 15% of the population: people aged between 25 and 54 years old were the most numerous (7,5% of the population). These immigrants come mainly from Maghreb (42% of them), while 35% of foreigners living in the PACA region are EU citizens. The proportion of immigrants with no degree is 35%.
Immigrant men are mainly skilled workers, unskilled workers, craftsmen, civil servants. They hold one in six jobs in agriculture and construction. Women work mainly in the health and social services sector (personal assistance). The unemployment rate is high even among graduates.
These people face several difficulties. First, social and civic difficulties (access to housing, work, lack of knowledge of the culture, rights and duties of the host country), integration difficulties (discrimination, communitarianism) but also difficulties related to school (lack of knowledge of the education system, low level of French which does not allow them to monitor their children’s schooling). However, despite these difficulties, many immigrants are determined to make the most of the opportunities that the host country offers them. As their parents, a big number of immigrant students have a real ambition for success.
A will to improve links between school and families
The main difficulty of this target public undoubtedly concerns language. Most migrants are isolated and hardly speak French. These difficulties are even more serious when they have to provide schooling for their children: at that moment, they have to face French school expectations.
To tackle this situation, a program funded by the State was born in 2008 called “Ouvrir l’école aux parents” (“Opening school to parents”). This program was set up in the academy of Aix-Marseille. It is the result of an agreement signed by the kindergarten and elementary school “POUZOL and F. JOUVE” located in Carpentras, the Social Center LOU TRICARDOU of Carpentras, the Municipality of Carpentras, a group of French as foreign language teachers and the National Education.
The idea behind this program is on one hand to facilitate the learning of French for migrant parents whose children are educated in France and on the other hand to help parents to integrate into society while helping children to integrate into the school environment. For a child to succeed at school it is indeed necessary that he is followed by his family. If a child does not understand what he has to do at school he has little chance of succeeding.
This program pursues three objectives. The first one is to work with the beneficiaries on the mastery of the French language (understanding, speaking, reading and writing) so to help them to better understand the documents related to the education of their children (the timetable, the words in the notebook…) and to participate to parent-teacher meetings. Secondly, the program allows the target audience to know and understand the principles and values of the French Republic in order to better integrate into the French society. Finally, the aim is to increase parents’ awareness on the educational institution, on the rights and duties of pupils and parents, on school expectations towards children, so to allow them to support their children’s education
In a word, the goal is to bring school and families close together.
The program in few words…
The program offers a free training of 60 to 120 hours a year, renewable once or twice (the total duration cannot exceed three years). During the week, classes take place in the schools mentioned above. Most of the beneficiaries do not hold a driving license or do not have a means of transport. So providing classes in schools/colleges where their children attend school is a way of limiting their mobility problems. In addition, a shuttle is provided by the Lou Tricadou Social Center for travels to other schools and colleges.
The training hours are flexible and adapted to the availability of the target public so to help parents to better combine their personal, family and professional life.
Recruitment is mainly done through schools and colleges, notably on the occasion of back to school meetings during which the teaching team disseminates a wide range of information about the content and objectives of the program. Parents’ Cafés and other informal meetings between parents are also opportunities to communicate on the program. Parents’ associations and other associations including the Lou Tricadou Social Center can also act as a prescriber by creating links with schools across the city and by raising awareness among the target publics who attend their structure. In addition, local communities (municipal departments, etc.) directly inform migrant pupils’ parents on the possibility of benefiting from this training. Finally, the French Office of Immigration and Integration, in charge of welcoming foreigners, also informs newly arrived parents of the purpose and implementation of the program in the department.
Groups, each one of 15 people maximum, benefit from a training of 4 hours weekly. The courses are adapted to the learners’ personal needs and the trainers use authentic documents as training materials. Ten issues are tackled: the school premises, school staff and its functions, the school materials, a day at school, learning at school, pupils’ homework, participation in school life, the various forms of evaluation, school education and, finally, the school Institution.
The beneficiaries enter the program on a voluntary basis but beforehand they must have signed a « contract of reception and integration » (contract intended for people who obtain for the first time the residence permit and who wish to stay in France durably) since less than 5 years and regularly reside in France.
Focus on the target group
The target public of this program is people who are isolated because of their lack of mastery of French language and their difficulties to enter into training (lack of school habits, previous difficulties with school, lack of education…). It is also an audience who suffers from a lack of oral and written comprehension, whether linguistic and/or social (lack of self-confidence, different writing systems…). All these difficulties have inevitable consequences on the relation that these parents have with the school. The program thus targets men and women, parents (or legal guardians) of immigrant and foreign pupils who have language and/or cultural difficulties with consequences in the education of their children.
The profiles are very different in terms of nationalities, languages, cultures and writing systems. No level of education and no language skills are required.
The innovation of the « Opening schools to parents » program is that it only concerns people above the age of 26 who do not meet the criteria of common law and who therefore cannot benefit from language training: they are not job-seekers and are not in the process of occupational integration.
The initial diagnosis
The diagnostic evaluation is based on the CEFR skills (Common European Framework of Reference for Modern Languages). The person who wishes to benefit from the program is received individually. During this first meeting, his language skills and knowledge of the school institution are assessed, as well as his needs and expectations regarding the training. To evaluate them, the trainers rely on written and oral tests based on French language diplomas (DILF / DELF). This initial diagnosis allows the trainer to create pedagogical sequences adapted to the needs of the beneficiaries.
The validation of the acquired skills
The training is non-degree-granting. However, it allows to obtain a certification (in particular, the initial diploma of French language-DILF) and to facilitate the professional insertion.
In addition, a document certifying the number of hours of training followed, as well as the skills acquired in French, is given to the trainees at the end of the training period.
The action aims at the acquisition of key competences in language (written and oral), the increase of the social and cultural autonomy of the learners. It also helps parents to improve their children's chances of success in school.
At the end of the three-month training, the Lou Tricadou Social Center is responsible for holding the DILF exam session. In 2016/2017, 22 trainees succeeded the exam, which is a very positive result.
MobileBE - Examples of good practice (IO-1) - Example SE03
Studies with active citizenship as a profile – a preparation for a job, further studies and life itself!
The general course is the core and pride of the Swedish Folk High School system. It is the basic course at all 154 Folk High Schools, and it can be profiled more or less, depending on ownership and orientation. Today, about 75% of the schools are run by organizations, associations (NGO’s) and popular movements, while the remaining 25% are run by regions and county councils. The Folk High Schools are free to create their own syllabus, according to the wishes of the board and the needs of the groups of participants. This means that both the course contents and the working methods can vary a lot from school to school and from time to time.
Aiming at strengthening and developing our democracy, the goals we are heading for in general are increased knowledge, cultural interest and participation in cultural activities, social awareness and active citizenship, as well as personal development. At our school, it is the labor movement and the trade unions we have as owners that creates the profile, which makes it important with knowledge of for example labor market issues and social issues. Since this kind of course can be an alternative to upper secondary school, it also means a qualification for studies at university level.
The course is planned around thematic work, with for example Equality, Identity, Culture or Human rights in Sweden as the focus for a couple of months or a full term. The course contents are planned week by week and in collaboration with the students – the goal is that their previous knowledge should be shared in the group, and their wishes and needs of new knowledge should be met. Most often the teachers work together, and when discussing for example Equality between the sexes the science teacher gives some biological input and the social science teacher discusses the construction of gender with the group, allowing different angles and contexts. If the current framework is Culture, the reading of a novel can be in focus and artwork from the same period can be shown and discussed, and a visit to the Museum of Art be a suitable and rewarding break from the classroom work. Evaluation during and at the end of each thematic period give the teachers an idea what could be a good next step – what have caught the students’ attention and interest, and what would they like to know more about?
Target group, recruitment, motivation
Everyone who is 18 years or older are welcome to apply, and we have recruitment information meetings combined with individual interviews. The applicants should be able to focus mainly on their studies for the 1-3 years needed to finish with an exam, and be willing to attend a course with alternative methods. One important priority for the school is to have a mix of ages and backgrounds in the same group, to facilitate the sharing of knowledge and make discussions varied and rich. The student’s own motivation to attend and be active at the course is supported by our flexible methods and a constant dialogue between tutor and student when it comes to planning and creating a meaningful course together.
Currently we have about 95 students at upper secondary level and 26 at a preparatory lower secondary level. Most of them are between ages 24-35, and all of them have for some reason or other not managed to get their basic exams from the main school system. They have normally a low self-esteem and are in need of studies and working methods structured in alternative ways.
Folk High Schools have by tradition always had a priority on those in the most need of what we can offer, which means we have a rather unusual approach to who is qualified for our courses. However, reasons for not being taken in could for example be a problem with drugs or too severe mental diagnoses for us to handle.
Validation of learning outcomes
Since this kind of course can be an alternative to upper secondary school, it also means a qualification for studies at university level, with intake through a separate ratio group. However, most of our students are more interested in getting into a profession and/or aim at further vocational studies.
Effects – short term/long term
Young individuals who for various reasons have failed earlier will get a second chance to finish their secondary education. The pedagogics, working methods and tutorial support at our kind of school will help them regain their confidence, study motivation, and get a better understanding of their own abilities and goals. In addition, studying in a warm and open environment, working closely with other students and staff stimulates personal growth and development. They also get a formal exam that will help them either to get a job or allow them to continue with either vocational or academic studies.
Måna Nilsdotter, 2018-02-28
MobileBE - Examples of good practice (IO-1) - Example SE04
Swedish for immigrants: the practical and cultural way
With a high number of immigrants from very different cultural contexts during recent years, there is also a need for courses in Swedish with a focus on society and culture. And since we as individuals differ a lot when it comes to preferred learning styles, there is also a great need for courses that are not only theoretical, but include practical methods and the arts.
The main goal after having finished our courses is to be able to make oneself understood in everyday situations, and there should be no need for an interpreter when for example in contact with the authorities. The level of language should also be enough to get and keep a job, and being able to have a good communication with an employer and rest of staff.
Our courses combine traditional teachings in the classroom with practical tasks, external lecturers, study visits and discussions. There is normally a new theme every week where society and culture are in focus; the rules and regulations of the labor market or personal economy with budgets, loans and interest is the next week varied with teaching Swedish through translating and discussing song lyrics which then can be sung by the whole group. Dancing and painting can also open up new doors to the language and the new culture, and leaving school for a visit to the lake to try skating or water sports add color and joy. Since this is a holistic way of learning, not normally offered to this target group by other school forms, it makes our kind of school rather unique – a folk high school with teachers that have various backgrounds, views and ways of teaching.
Target group, recruitment, motivation
The students are recruited through the employment agency or apply themselves, and are in general quite motivated to learn the new language. If not, and if they have difficulties focusing on the course, it usually depends on the situation in their home countries where family and friends can still be in danger because of conflict and war. We usually solve this with strong support from a mentor, but sometimes it can be a good idea to take a break from the course and return at a better point in time.
We have about 230 students, divided into the more basic Establishment (80) where your start if you are illiterate and/or have no schooling from your home country, and Swedish for Immigrants (150) where there are four levels and the top level is equivalent to having finished upper primary level in the Swedish school system. The typical participant is between 18 and up above retirement age, Arabic speaking and originally from Syria. This year we happen to have more men than women at the course, but this can vary a lot.
Individual mapping takes place right from the start, and there are standardized tests to decide which level is the most suitable for each individual.
Validation of learning outcomes
There are national tests at each level that everyone has to pass before entering the next level and get their certificate at the end. Due to differences in general linguistic competence and motivation, the time needed to accomplish the final certificate can vary a great deal.
Effects – short term/long term
The most obvious results are the illiterate students who with our individually adapted exercises, including intense work with sounds and connecting words with pictures (a combination of top-down and bottom-up theory), manage to crack the code of reading in a month or two – this is something we see quite often and are truly proud of doing. As a whole, we give these new citizens a variety of input and the opportunity to learn in a way that fits them the best, which makes the studies motivating and efficient and a good base for future work and life in Sweden.
Måna Nilsdotter, 2018-02-28
MobileBE - Examples of good practice (IO-1) - Example SE02
Motivational course with a loving ambience
Sweden is a country where a good basic education in general and specifically a good ICT competence are demands in most professional areas. This makes it hard for people without education to get into the labor market and manage to support themselves financially. If you have not finished your studies at upper secondary level, it is nowadays very hard even to get a simple, manual job, since the competition is so fierce. The purpose of our motivational course is to inspire unemployed adults to start or continue their upper secondary studies, or, in some cases, get a better understanding of the labor market and improve their chances to get a suitable job.
The goal is to prepare the participants for studies (or work) in accordance with their needs and abilities. During three months, they get individual guidance and coaching as well as group support as a part of our pedagogics. The working methods of the folk high school function very well with this group, focusing on democratic discussions, sharing knowledge in the group, and personal development/social skills. The subjects are for example social science, communication, leadership, health, and basic trade union knowledge. Regularly there will also be contributions from teachers in Swedish, English, mathematics and ICT, for improved skills and inspiration.
Individual, written reflection (Where am I today? Am I enjoying my life? What do I dream about doing in the future?) is combined with oral presentations in the group (e g ‘My journey’ – could be a physical or inner journey). The tutors aim to make everyone more confident and visible in the group, and encourage everyone to make their voice heard in sharing their experiences, planning the schedule together in the beginning of the week and evaluating it at the end of the week. It is vital to create an open, safe and positive ambiance in the group to make everyone feel comfortable in sharing and supporting each other. Towards the end of the course, it is even possible for participants to take on leadership and plan and hold activities for their own group or another course.
Adults from 18 to 65 years of age, without completed studies at upper secondary level. Since this kind of course from year 2015 is a part of the state-funded labor market program, everyone applies through an employment agency. If the potential participant is unsure of the concept and hesitant whether it would be a good option for him or her, it is possible to try out the course for two weeks before signing up for the whole course.
About 250 students a year take advantage of this course at our school, most of them between 19 and 25 years of age. They typically have little knowledge of how society works in general, and most of them lack insight in how to get on with their lives and what their options are. In addition, they are not used to express their opinions, or for that matter, being listened to. Low self-esteem and social insecurity are characteristics for a great majority.
An assessment of previous studies is made in collaboration with the employment agency. One obstacle for attending can be language shortcomings, since you need to understand and use the Swedish language at a working level to benefit from the course. Some potential participants do express a need for a different kind of approach, but we normally take in all students who wish to try, and it is up to the individual student to assess if this course could be of use to them.
Validation of learning outcomes
More than 60% of the participants go on to further studies or work. Our vision is that the participants should see and realize that the combination of their previous studies and knowledge, raised confidence and our input of possible roads to take is a good base for making a good, realistic plan for the future. This kind of course can be seen as an investment, and if they take the chance and use the time in a responsible way their possibilities will be better to get the life they wish for.
To have been part of such a caring and supporting group and enjoying the loving atmosphere of the course, if only for three months, will change most people. The effects that we see are a strengthening of these individuals’ self-esteem, a more positive outlook on life, and better possibilities to support themselves financially and thus become an integrated part of the society. Long-term effects would be a lowering of unemployment rates and a stronger democracy, since more people can get a sense of belonging and hope for the future.
Måna Nilsdotter/ 2018-02-24
Pilot projects presented briefly
Jazmin Petersson, Västerås folkhögskola, Sweden
Claudia Ducange, Fondacione Casa di Carità, Torino
Svilen Andreev, Združenie “Znanie”, Loveč
Gundula Laudin, Volkshochschule Göttingen Osterode
Saray Baquedano, Centro Público de Educación de Adultos, Cariñena/Zaragoza
Herbert Depner, Die Wiener Volkshochschulen (Austria)
Sébastien Dubost, INFREP, Cherbourg, France (Institut National de Formation et de Recherche sur…
Christian Geiselmann, Volkshochschule Hannover (Germany)