Using ESL Support to Advance Workplace Training


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Jane DeGroot, Literacy Center of West Michigan
Karen Krieg, Career Coach
Sue Kinney, Goodwill Industries

Published in: Education, Career, Business
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  • Narrative: Greeting!—great to be here at the summit. Hope everyone is having a good experience learning more about what we can all do to increase literacy and diminish barriers to literacy in our community.[Assume our facilitator has already introduced us, if not, we will do so individually, stating who we are and what we do, professionally]Our presentation centers around a Certified Nurse Aide training program that LCWM provided the Career Coaching and ESL support for, however, we propose that this model for training could be in any field or industry of your choice, given the fact that ESL learners participate and are motivated to learn the content. Although our experience has been with the ESL learner, we also feel that the ABE (Adult Basic Education) student would benefit from a similar boost to their educational experience. It would take on a little different context, but there is certainly a need for training in order to help individuals with low-level literacy ready to work.
  • Narrative: This project began through a grant from National Human Resources Development (NHRD) to conduct a joint venture between Home Health Aide training and ESL, which we did back in the fall of 2012. Goodwill provided the medical training to 11 ESL students over a period of 8 weeks. The material was similar to CNA training, very intense,but without the official credential of state certification. It could be considered a pre-CNA training.
  • -objective of the program was to serve a group of NNS whose interests and skill sets were a good match for the health care inductry, utilizing a subject matter expert (SK) and a language expert (KS) -Curriculum covered the concepts and skills required to provide basic care in the home. Immediate language support and a wide array of language learning tools were utilizedStudents were highly motivated and hard-working, valued education, many brought skills and knowledge that were acquired in their country of origin. Attendance record was unsurpassed; CASAS gain, WorkKeys, spoken language. ESL support was offered during the class, rather than in addition to the training. Improved language learning and communication skills were definitely outcomes, but due to barriers such as transportation issues, child care and lack of certification, only one of those students took a job as a home health aide following the training. Another took a new position at a local hospital in environmental services. Training was for training sake, not directly for employment outcomes. Because of the success of this training, LC and GWI determined to embark on a similar project, but with a greater emphasis on the outcomes of certification and employment. It was understood that this endeavor would require more partners for recruitment and financial backing.
  • The agreement was between GWI: provided CNA instruction—content for the CNA class. History of GWI and CNA. Orientation and general admission requirements.LCWM: ESL providers for 25 years. Long-standing experts in the field of ESL and business services. English language testing in Reading and Listening, as well as Career Coaching to confirm level of commitment and “fit” for the training. GRCC: Vehicle for the funding through the State of Michigan to support non-native speakers getting job training. They conducted the application process for all potential participants.BCS: Conducted the recruiting among their refugee families. They were very involved in carrying out the physical support for each participant, not the least of which was providing transportation to and from both the LCWM and Porter Hills, which was even more critical because bus service/public transportation is not easily accessed. Without such a commitment from the partners, this training would not have succeeded. Prepare well for the training. All parties involved need to know their assets. Bring as much as you can financially to the table. See the big picture. So now Sue will talk about the role that GWI played.
  • So these four were are success stories! Well, Sue is a success story, too, but we are here to tell you about the students and why this worked so well.
  • Prior to the 1 hour following the actual CNA training, Sue and Syreeta gave me a list of what to review from their lessons that day and to prepare for the next day. The units were well laid out with questions at the end of the chapters. What was very interesting, was that they seemed overwhelmed their first day, but when they had the lesson on communication, it seemed to come together for them. Could we have done more? Yes! We could still be at it and they would still be learning. The sky was the limit. But we were limited.
  • Rana and Shaimaa-both Iraqi Muslims, married, with children. Interested in learning higher skills of English, but not ready to make the commitment to CNA trainingMakai-mother of a practicing M.D., highly educated in Pakistan, challenged by the language barrier, but willing to learn. She took the ESL training then left for the summer with the hope that she would continue with the CNA training on her return. Jeanne-Marie, Rwandan, actually attended GWI CNA class 2 years ago and successfully passed the state certification on her third attempt. Unfortunately, she has not been offered a CNA position due to her GED status. So she continues to work in Environmental Services at Spectrum.
  • Nuam, born in Mynmar, trained and practiced as a midwife in Malaysia, married, highly motivated, typically high scorer for class. Quiet, soft spoken at first, but gradually found her voice. Florence, Jackie and Claudine all from the Democratic Republic of Congo, which was coincidentally where I taught English in for 10 months back in 2007 on a U.S. State Dept program. English is their third language. French being the national language, is their second language.. They all learned a tribal language first, swahili, which they quickly and frequently broke into speaking! Each one of these women has a story, but let me just take a minute to tell you about Claudine, according to Karen’s cc notes is a “delightful woman with an easy-going and cooperative spirit. She enjoys being part of a team and helping others.” upper 40’s, Was trained and practiced as a nurse (RN) in congo. From her testimony, she has been here 3 years and left 11 children in Congo and is in the process of trying to get them here. She used her skills both in clinics and the jungle during the vicious fighting in her home country. Claudine had communication challenges due to her heavy accent. She had difficulty expressing herself and seemed self-conscious about it, which affected her emotionally.
  • General language learning includes all four skills ; however, due to the nature of the CNA training, it was especially critical that the students were able to communicate clearly. In order for that to happen they needed to hear what the words sounded like and then be able to reproduce those sounds. We concentrated on Unit 4, which was all about communication. So they not only learned how to communicate, but learned about communication.. The students did a lot of listening to each other and to the instructors. They were slow at first to question, but gradually interacted. The more they did, the better their learning improved.They had to read a lot of dense text on the subject matter. I always encouraged them to read outloud for at least 10 minutes every day. Read to the dog, to the wall, to a mirror to your kids…It is essential for ESL learners to hear themselves speak out loud. And of course it was helpful if they understood what they were reading. Computer: Everyone was given computer literacy instruction. They were assigned Keytrain to prepare for WorkKeysWe talked about non-verbal communcation, how to touch people appropriately in U.S.—critical for CNA__we talked and practiced gentle but firm touching—not an easy skill to learn if it doesn’t come naturally! How does culture impact touch? Sender, receiver, feedback, sender. There is opportunity for miscommunication in each area: What happens if the sender doesn’t get the message clearly to the receiver? Dead end. It is not received. This has many implications. that was Moving on to CNA training be able to speak more clearly, confidently, especially as they were serious about working in the field.
  • CommunicationWhat does this look like in the daily activities of a CNA ? The resident says, “I’m having a bad day.” The CNA listens and responds appropriately,” I’m sorry to hear that!, What’s going on, Mrs. Jones?” Resident hears and feels the empathy and sends another message…
  • Unfortunately, communication is not always that simple. There are many barriers to healthy communication, such as these listed in the drawing.
  • If the message is obscured by the resident, for instance, “I’m down in the dumps,” the CNA doesn’t understand the message and gives feedback of, “oh that’s funny!” The resident responds by feeling worse and getting angry and the downward spiral begins.
  • WorkKeys Testing: Gave 16 tests total; Of those, 2 individuals scored well-enough to get their certificates (one silver, one bronze). 11/16 tests were passing scores, giving those individuals a start to their certificates, which they can continue to work at with Career Ready 101/commonly known as KeyTRain. CASAS results: 7 out of the initial 8 posttested. READING: 5/7 who post-tested made a gain, 3 of those with 10 or more point gain . 1 stayed the same, 1 went down 3 points, Listening: 4/7 who post tested made a gain between 2 and 5 points; 2 stayed the same and 1 went down 3 points, All four ESL participants were immediately eligibile to take the State CNA certification test, but only one so far attempted it, unsuccessfully we regret to say, but it is very challenging, even for native speakers. We are optimistic that at some point they will pass.Career counseling is offered through GWI for as long as they are involved in it. They have had employment opportunities: Claudine When they first arrived in class, they showed signs of timidity, fear of speaking, even if it was well done. They were reluctant to talk. I did a short digital recording of them pre-class and post class training. Which I will play for you now
  • This is the text Nuam was reading. Note how her rate of speech slowed down when she read for the post sample. Her final consonants and vowel sounds are well controlled. Her intonation still needs some work, but she certainly shows great improvement in her ability to make meaning with her speech.Now Sue is going to talk about what else can be gained by bringing ESL learners into job training.
  • Solidarity-strength in communityCollective voice is strongerPre-developed sense of self and communityConfidence buildingEmpowering!As students learned about each other, all were able to appreciate each other’s history.
  • Using ESL Support to Advance Workplace Training

    1. 1. Jane DeGroot, M.A. Sue Kinney, R.N. Karen Krieg, C.D.F. 2013 Community Literacy Summit: Literacy is Key September 25, 2013
    2. 2. • Goodwill Industries of Greater Grand Rapids (GWI) • Literacy Center of West Michigan (LCWM) • Grand Rapids Community College (GRCC) • Bethany Christian Services (BCS) • Porter Hills Presbyterian Village (PHPV)
    3. 3. *75-80 hours of training time * Heavy reliance on independent reading and homework to cover full curriculum * Large class size
    4. 4. Learning About Yourself • Personality characteristics • Interest areas • Values (work, personal, people) •Life Balance • Skills assessment Making Informed Decisions Synthesize the career options information to a viable occupation that is a good fit. Career Exploration Draw on resources and information gathered in Phase 1. Target prospective occupations. Develop an Action Plan Work with career coach to develop an action plan to enter that occupation. 1 2 3 4
    5. 5.  Three weeks prior to the CNA training • 15 hours/week -6 hours of career coaching -9 hours of ESL -at LCWM  Everyday after the CNA training • 5 hours/week -1 hour after class -at CNA training site: Porter Hills
    6. 6. Speaking Listening Reading Writing Computer
    7. 7. Objective: Learn barriers to communication Method: Role playing using: 1. +/- sending 2. +/-receiving 3. +/-feedback Discussion: What happened? Why?
    8. 8. WorkKeys CASAS results Eligible for State CNA certification Career counseling through GWI Employment opportunities Speech sample demo
    9. 9. “Effective communication is a vital part of your job. Nursing assistants must communicate with supervisors, the care team, residents and family members. A resident’s health depends on how well you communicate your observations and concerns to the nurse. You must also be able to communicate clearly and respectfully in stressful or confusing situations.”
    10. 10. Mutually beneficial! • For instructors • For other students • For elders All lives were enriched through sharing culturally diverse experiences!
    11. 11. Q & A Thank you! Contact information Jane Sue Kinney: Karen Krieg: