MobileBE - Examples of good practice (IO-1) - Example DE05
ABCami – Literacy training in the mosque
Rationale / Background
Cami is the Turkish word for mosque. In Germany there are more than 2000 mosques and prayer houses. Here muslims pray, meet, celebrate and learn together. Some of them have difficulties in reading and writing in German. As they do not necessarily know about adult education opportunities, it is a good idea to offer classes of basic education in mosques.
Mosques are a meeting place for muslims. Here they feel at home and at ease and, one can expect to raise interest in basic education. This is an excellent basis to run successful classes.
ABCami started as an initiative of a local NGO in Berlin. Later it was extended, by the help of a federal programme, to other cities. Local partners are associations that run mosques in these cities. In 2018, classes were offered in 25 mosques in eleven cities in Germany.
The ABCami project aims at offering basic education opportunities to muslims living in Germany. Many of them, especially those with lower educational achievements, lead lives in relative isolation from overall German society. The idea of ABCami is offering education to them in an environment they know and they trust.
Description / Activities
Every adult is welcome. Twice a week classes of basis education run in mosques for three teaching hours each. The language in class is German. Nevertheless the teachers are bilingual (Turkish/German or Arabic/German) and familiar with both cultures. They use a contrastive teaching method in class to help their learners to understand the difference between their mother tongue and German. They start with what is common in both languages and teach the differences between both languages. So far ABCami has published two textbooks of 300 pages, two teachers’ books of 100 pages and additional teaching material. All in all 1000 pages. This material is an important support of the learning process. The course design is based on a concept called situational approach. Teachers design classes based on the everyday life experience of the course participants. Thus the cultural muslim background is included in the learning process.
Target group (recruitment, motivation)
ABCami intends to motivate muslims who weren't interested in adult education in the past. Local coordinators represent a key to success. They are the course instructors and obtain additional qualifications throughout the course of the project in teaching German as a second language and in literacy. They have been familiar with the mosques in their towns and the people going there for a long time. As the instructor already knows the people, it is easy for him or her to address potential participants and motivate them to join the class. Every adult is welcome.
From December 2012 to April 2015 ABCami worked very successfully with this approach in three different mosques in Berlin. Muslims appreciate learning in their familiar surrounding together with partcipants and teachers they already know. Since 2015 ABCami has organised more tham 51 courses. 37 of which are currently being offered.
The competence assessment is not easy as the participants are not German and need further education in German reading and writing skills. After having tried different methods of assessment, ABCami decided to use an assessment instrument with a clear competence approach. This was developed by VHS Oldenburg/ Germany (so-called "Oldenburger Diagnostikbögen", in English: "Assessment tools from Oldenburg"). By using it educationalists try to find out where the participants' competence is. They use a list of pictures, the reading text "In a hurry" and a dictation. There are evaluation sheets for all tasks.
Validation of learning
ABCami offers further education in mosques. Participants volunteer to join classes, participation is not compulsory. Therefore some people might not participate till the very end. Thus their competence progress cannot be evaluated. Nevertheless ABCami uses the assessment tool from VHS Oldenburg to evaluate the progress of the participants. Furthermore ABCami uses a questionnaire with 10 questions that are translated into Arabic and Turkish to make sure that the participants understand the questions. The questionnaire was developed by a professor of psychology. The questions cover e.g. self-confidence, the courage to speak and read German, etc. The teachers get the questionnaire, too.
The answers are transformed into a graphic.
So far 99 participants have participated in the survey. [As in February 2018]
This approach represents a vital contribution to the integration of muslims (with difficulties in reading and writing) into the German society. More and more mosques join in. In 2017 ABCami also started working with oriental churches and migrant organisations. Therefore more and more people participate in classes of basic education and improve their German reading and writing skills. If the number of immigrants being aware of the German culture and language increases, their chance of integration into the German society will increase accordingly.