The language support method
#method #language #internship #mentor
The good practice in a nutshell
The language-support method is a structured method to ensure both learning of the specific lingo of the profession and correct execution of work tasks by the trainee. When one is working with the language-support method, the starting point for the internship is the employer’s perspective. This means that the professional role and the accompanying tasks are central to the internship. Both teaching and learning of the profession are based on the actual prerequisites of the workplace.
Also, the method includes two distinct tools for measuring the trainee’s development in both areas. The objective is to prepare trainees to execute work tasks both independently and with the highest quality as demanded by the specific profession. The method expresses a holistic perspective wherein the trainees, the mentors, colleagues, and the employer are included, along with the work tasks in the workplace.
During the internship, the trainee (and the mentor) uses certain tools to learn the working language. For example, on a daily basis, the trainee writes down words and expressions that are used in the work. When the mentor instructs him or her in a work task, the trainee writes down the steps in the task and explains the task to the mentor. The trainee can also take pictures of how things work (such as the washing machine used, various kinds of food, and so on) so as to learn that way. Language-support personnel perform follow-ups in the workplace fortnightly with the trainee and the mentor, to measure language development in line with the work tasks that have been done.
Developer or user
Municipality of Piteå, Sweden.
Job-seeking or newly employed migrants, though the method can also be used in working with unemployed persons / newly recruited people with disabilities and the long-term unemployed
Why it is needed
The training teaches the trainee / newly employed person the work tasks of the profession, teaches the language necessary in the profession, and informs about what is expected of him or her as a potential future staff member, all from the employer’s perspective.
The good practice requires:
- a mentor at the place of work who is trained in the method and the tools used within the method
- a language-support person to do the follow-up
- Table of language situations
- Self-evaluation of language development
- Table of language development
- Words and expressions
- The method combines the language required in the profession with correct execution of the work tasks.
- It prepares the trainees to execute work tasks both independently and with the highest quality in accordance with the specific profession involved.
- It ensures that the trainees know what is expected of all staff in the relevant profession.
- It provides a synthesis such that the internship proceeds from the employer’s perspective.
‘Do’s and ‘don’t’s
- Update all staff involved if any problems occur – preferably on the same day.
- Have the courage to address problems! Regardless of their nature and who is concerned or involved.
- Make a summary of the last two weeks and a plan for the next two weeks for the follow-ups.
This good practice can be used in other countries and in different professions because the starting point is always the employer’s perspective. The tools are easy to transfer to other countries as well.
Quotes from the other project partners
‘It is really effective when you get individualised help in the workplace if you need it and you can start to use the specific professional language in your work situations and environment’ (TAKK & Helsingin aikuisopisto, Finland)
‘This is an adaptable and transferable practice and fits many workplaces.’ (TAKK & Helsingin aikuisopisto, Finland)