Language for work: Developing migrants' language competences
at the workplace
With the close of 2015, the ECML programme, ‘Learning though Languages’ (2012-2015) came to an end – and with it the Language-for-work project: Developing migrants' language competences at the workplace. The team can look back with satisfaction at four intense years which have seen the creation of a European learning network for professionals involved in work‐related language development for adult migrants and ethnic minorities and of a website offering resources to support work in this field and communication between network members.
Highlight of the project was the final workshop held in Graz on 24th and 25th June with 46 participants from 32 countries: clear evidence of interest in the LfW issue and demand for networking and input all around Europe, including countries where the issue is only just emerging (e.g. Balkan states).
The last Network meeting followed on the 26th June. The members investigated strategies to enhance the visibility of the network and improve the management of the network. With its expansion, the diversity of interests, contexts and approaches of the members grows, posing the challenge of accommodating this diversity without “blurring” the focus on workplace language development.
The outcome now, at the end of the project, is a network with 49 members in 20 countries, a developing website (recently moved to the new ECML platform), a growing number of joint activities among network members and of activities initiated by them; to pick just three examples:
- Three network members participated in the Swedish-led Leonardo Transfer-of-Innovation project TDAR (Transfer and development of ArbetSam Results), making more widely available innovative approaches to workplace language learning, including workplace language champions and reflective discussion leaders. See http://www.aldrecentrum.se/utbildning1/TDAR/ for details. A wide range of resources developed by the project is available from the LfW Network’s website.
- Presentation of the LfW website during a workshop on the use of innovative teaching methods and modern ICT in teaching and learning process at the European Day of Languages in Vilnius on 25th September 2015, organised by a Network member from Lithuania.
With the year 2016 comes the new, four-year (2016-2019) ECML programme, ‘Languages at the heart of learning’ and within it the follow-up project: Language for Work: Tools for professional development. For more information on this new project, see the project pages on the ECML website.
Network meeting, 26 June in Graz, Austria
A significant number of participants of the LfW Workshop dedicated an extra morning to the Network meeting following the final event of the LfW project on the 26th of June 2015 in the ECML in Graz. 23 professionals discussed how to secure the survival of the network after completion of the project and how to improve it.
The presence of participants from Serbia and “The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia” for example showed clear evidence of demand for networking in countries where the issue is only just emerging. The new members voiced their interest in profiting from the experience and knowledge of the network, although the issue of L2 provision in their countries is not primarily on workplace development. At the same time colleagues longer involved in LfW and in the network clearly stated their commitment to the issue of workplace L2 learning and their interest not to blur the focus of the network but to keep a cutting-edge profile and pursue up-to-date and innovative issues.
Practical recommendation were formulated, drawing back on the discussions in the previous workshops on how to increase the visibility of the network and to promote more efficiently the issue as well as to the management of the network and the communication.
The LfW Network lives on!
Workshop 24-25 June in Graz, Austria
All documents and materials for participants can be found on the Padlet board.
This final event presented the outcomes and outputs of the Language-for-Work (LfW) project to 43 professionals from 31 countries – with a view to enabling further dissemination in ECML member states. In addition to reporting on the LfW project, the event also included expert input from Laurent Filliettaz, Université de Genève (on the very varied linguistic-communicative demands migrants typically encounter in today’s workplace); an overview of the Council of Europe’s LIAM working group from Claire Extramiana; and reports on research and practice from 11 members of the LfW Network, including Irina Kraeva, from the project’s associate partner, Moscow State Linguistic University.
Interactive group work (supported by use of an online discussion tool) allowed plentiful opportunity for discussion of the project and its main output, the Language for Work website; and also for wider consideration of the Language-for-Work field itself. Participants produced a range of detailed and constructive recommendations regarding further development of both the LfW Network and its website. Participants from countries not previously engaged with the Network contributed many new perspectives and insights – making it clear that there is wide and growing interest in the issues addressed by the LfW project – and a strong demand for exactly the kind of professional development network created by the LfW project.
Report on Applied Linguistics and Professional Practice (ALAPP), Geneva, 10-12 September 2014
Language for Work Network members contribute to ALAPP 2014
Members of the Language for Work (LfW) network made four contributions to the 4th international conference on Applied Linguistics and Professional Practice (ALAPP), held in Geneva in September 2014.
Themed around Learning through and for professional practice, the conference attracted some 300 participants from 27 countries and offered six keynote speeches, 16 symposia, 120 individual papers and 21 poster presentations.
ALAPP explicitly encourages interdisciplinarity, methodological diversity and inter-professional collaboration and this year’s conference placed special emphasis on boundary-crossing collaboration and the application of research findings to ensure impact.
For three days the Mail Building of the University of Geneva was a bustling hub for researchers investigating language use and social practices in a wide range of professional fields, including health and social care, therapy, law, mediation, management, business, journalism, education, etc.
This report offers glimpses into the conference and reflections on the relevance of some contributions to our common issue: workplace second language development and our own professional development.
Particularly relevant for colleagues involved in health and social care (but not only) was the opening talk of Sarangi Srikant, Aalborg University on “situated communication ethics”. He showed how this concept better responds to the challenges of increasingly complex communications and multiplicity of interlocutors in the field, e.g. providers, clients, carers, family, etc. than “principle-based ethics”. His proposed “situated communication ethics” pays particular attention to language aspects such as discourse types with reference to structures and roles, and communicative acts.
Particularly stimulating for professionals engaged in workplace language provision with migrants is the issue of “boundary crossing”, the focus of a plenary presentation by Sanne Akkermann from the University of Utrecht. Dr Akkermann explored methodological issues such as how to conceptualize the increasingly multi-voiced and multiple professional practices in a variety of contemporary professions, incorporating culturally and historically different professional systems at the same time.
The concept of boundary crossing seems meaningful to the LfW Network for two reasons. Firstly the LfW Network claims to bring together researchers and practitioners with different backgrounds and concerns. Secondly the “end users” of our work are migrants learning the language they work with. We can assume that both our own professional practice (at least as members of the Network) and the work practice of the migrant learners are multi-voiced and multiple. It would be worthwhile identifying in a precise way how the impact of multi-voicedness and multiplicity is a potential or can be turned into a potential for language development for individuals and companies and a challenge not only in academic professional settings, but also in less-skilled workplaces.
Meredith Marra, from the celebrated New Zealand research project, Language in the Workplace (Victoria University of Wellington), delivered the conference’s closing plenary. Her topic was the use of humour in talk at work, in particular its use as a marker of “transition” between topics and activities. She also reflected on its use in intercultural interactions – again, a form of boundary crossing. In our profession we are confronted with people crossing multiple boundaries: into a new country, into a new workplace, into new communities in private and working life, not infrequently into new jobs and/or industries.
In between these two presentations, Elizabeth Stokoe, Professor of Social Interaction at Loughborough University in the UK, described the evolution of CARM (Conversation Analytic Role-play Method) and showed how essential it is to base workplace training on the study of real interactions at work.
Among the scores of papers, Stefan Serwe of the University of Luxembourg gave an engaging account of research in the unusual context of a Thai massage parlour owned and operated by a Thai immigrant in Germany. Serwe showed in detail how the owner-operator managed to run her business despite having minimal German. Anne-Sylvie Horlacher from the University of Basel presented a paper on service encounters in a hairdressing salon, focusing on what happens when the client challenges the hairdresser.
As to the contribution of the LfW Network: Florence Mourlhon-Dallies, Descartes Université, Paris and member of the LfW coordinating team, compared three different models of conceptualizing workplace second language (development), which have been presented and discussed within the LfW Network:
- a ‘grid’ model of competences to identify the language needs of a specific sector or workplace, based on a systematic needs analysis, proposed by the ECML project Odysseus 2002
- the ‘cartes de competences’ mapping the competences required in a specific sector, developed in France and presented in the last Network meeting
- the Working as Learning Framework (WALF), the model presented by Professor Lorna Unwin, also at the last LfW Network meeting, with two axes showing the intersection and interplay of the structures and stages of production
Moulhon-Dallies discussed the three models highlighting their assets.
Three other network members presented papers considering how research can inform practice to ensure sustainable impact.
Kerstin Sjösvärd, from the Stockholm Gerontology Centre, presented the main components of the Arbetsam approach for sustainable workplace second language development for immigrant workers in elderly care: a complex articulated programme consisting of teaching, mentoring (through language advocates) and reflective practice in mixed teams of Swedish and migrant colleagues: in itself a multi-voiced, pluralist concept, an example of boundary crossing including development at institutional, interpersonal and intrapersonal level.
Alexander Braddell, an independent researcher and one the LfW project team, presented the results of research on barriers to and enablers of English language learning experienced by migrants in low-skilled, low-paid work, commissioned by the Greater London Authority. In his contribution he examined what sort of ‘scaffolding’ might support language learning in such work settings, drawing among other things on innovative approaches shared by Network members.
Matilde Grünhage Monetti, former researcher of the Deutsches Institut für Erwachsenenbildung, Bonn and co-ordinator of the LfW project) presented key findings of the research project ‘German at the Workplace’ financed by the Volkswagen Foundation on communicative practices and requirements in a variety of industries in Germany. The research shows the interdependence between organisation and communications at work in the ‘transition’ from fordist to post-fordist production systems and societal models. Particularly relevant for second language development seem to be the often contradictory consequences of such transitions e. g. the discrepancy in low-skilled workplaces between ‘visible’ low communicative requirements of task activities and relatively ‘high’ requirements linked to employment and work organisation. The research insights informed a train-the-trainers scheme for providers and teachers of workplace German language.
At each of these four presentations flyers were distributed to further acquaint the audience with the work of ECML and the Language for Work project. The discussions after the presentations showed the interest of participants in the issues of migration and language development.
Another contribution was also connected to the LfW Network. A group of young researches, among them Katja Dippold-Schenk, Dr. Prof. Nicole Kimmelmann, and Michael Seyfahrt from the University of Nürnberg-Erlangen and affiliated to the LfW network, presented the interim results of a research and development project, ‘Language-sensitising in vocational training — building a framework curriculum’. The project (carried out by a consortium of the Universities of Bielefeld, Leipzig and Nuremberg-Erlangen) is investigating the need for language awareness in vocational training and developing a training scheme for vocational trainers, who are increasingly required to engage in boundary crossing themselves: they teach heterogeneous (culturally and linguistically diverse) learner groups and are expected to integrate the acquisition of knowledge and language, the latter being crucial to knowledge transfer.
Besides their presentations, the three members of the LfW coordinating team, Alex Braddell, Matilde Grünhage-Monetti and Florence Mourlhon-Dallies further contributed to the conference as members of the scientific committee, helping to select the papers to be presented. Mourlhon-Dallies also moderated a symposium on Langue, Travail et Formation: Quelles Articulations avec des Publics en Insécurité Langagière?
In these various way, the LfW Network and the ECML were promoted across professional boundaries and in multi-voiced, multiple communities of researchers and practitioners in the spirit of ALAPP and of the LfW network itself.
Expert meeting, 24-25 July 2014
Il tempo passa e non s’arresta un’ora/Time passes by not stopping for a moment
This line from a poem by Lorenzo il Magnifico captures the spirit of the third experts’ meeting of the LfW project, which took place in the premises of the ECML on 24th and 25th July 2014. The project is now past its halfway point and at this meeting the team was preoccupied with
- actions required to prepare the project’s final workshop
- exploring sustainability after the end of the 2012-15 Learning through Languages Programme.
The network counts some 40 members so far. The website has been revised integrating the suggestions of the specialists participating in the second network workshop in December 2013. In the next months lay-out and functions will be improved as part of a technical upgrade of the ECML online presence. The team and all members are requested to upload more material and expand the network.
The calendar of activities undertaken by the team in the first half of 2014 shows the brisance of the issue and the need and importance of networking and sharing expertise. In workshops, conferences, lectures at universities the LfW network has been presented in Donostia, Berlin, Hamburg, Sheffield, Edinburgh, Luxembourg, Alicante, and elsewhere. For the second half of the year further activities and cooperation with and among members are already planned. Next appointment is Geneva in September for the 4th International conference on Applied Linguistics and Professional Practice, then Düsseldorf on 9th December where three Network members will present workplace language policies in their own countries at a conference organized by the German programme Integration through Qualification.
The central event in 2015 will be the final workshop scheduled for 24th-25th June 2014 at the ECML in Graz. It targets researchers interested in workplace learning/language development/migration/ skills/ labour market participation; national skills policy makers; workforce development professionals; teacher trainers working in the field of adult second language learning; vocational instructors; providers of apprenticeships & pre-employment programmes; teachers of the majority language involved in or planning workplace provision, employer and trade union representatives.
We expect that the participants will access a European multidisciplinary professional network; gain a greater understanding of adult language learning for vocational contexts in different European countries and a greater awareness and understanding of the role of language development for vocational competence.
The outputs we expect for them will be resources to support their practice in the language-for-work field, including information on selected research and development work; expert collaborators; different types of productive action and engaging stakeholders, securing funding and resources.
As a coordinator team we will make sure to integrate existing members and new participants, highlight the value of the LfW network and its relevance for their practice. We are concerned with securing a key-note speaker for a high-quality input on workplace language learning development and intend that the workshop will be interactive, giving a voice to the participants.
Since the number of participants is restricted, contact your nominating agency if you do not want to miss this opportunity to meet with experts from more than 30 European countries and share expertise and support in a European-wide platform/network.
Meantime, learn more by visiting us at //languageforwork.ecml.at and join the Network!
Report on LIAM conference Coucil of Europe, Strasbourg, 3-4 June 2014
Language for Work Network contributes to Council of Europe conference on Linguistic Integration of Adult Migrants
In June 2014, the Council of Europe’s LIAM (Linguistic Integration of Adult Migrants) Working Group (part of the Council’s Language Policy Unit) held its third Intergovernmental Conference in Strasbourg. The conference was themed ‘Quality in the linguistic integration of adult migrants: from values to policy and practice’. The conference included a short presentation on the Language for Network a member of the LfW coordinating team.
The following summary of the conference follows the report of the conference rapporteur, Richard Rossner (EAQUALS).
This two-day conference had three principle objectives:
- Information-sharing and up-dating on recent initiatives by the Council of Europe and others
- Participant networking
- Consultation to assist the Council of Europe’s agenda-setting for future work on LIAM.
It was attended by about 60 participants, including government representatives from 20 Council of Europe (CoE) member states; representatives of the European Commission and of the OECD; observers from a range of interested organisations and speakers engaged in practical work from all over Europe
The conference began with remarks from Ulrich Bunjes, the Council of Europe’s Acting Director of Democratic Citizenship and Participation, on relevance of education and languages to human rights, democracy and the rule of law. Ambassador Castro Mendes (form Portugal) then spoke on behalf of the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe, noting that the Council’s concern for vulnerable groups, including migrants, could be traced back at least to a 1968 resolution. Ambassador Mendes also referred to the White Paper of 2008 on intercultural dialogue, which underlined the importance of intercultural policies in enabling migrants to participate fully in the life of host communities. After this, Pierre-Yves Le Borgn’, from the Parliamentary Assembly, affirmed the contribution of migrants and migration to European society, the importance of LIAM and of the work being done by the Council of Europe in this area.
The conference then considered various new CoE resources, led by members of LIAM’s co-ordinating group. Philia Thalgott outlined a recommendation questioning the value of tests in integration measures and advocating alternative means of assessment. David Little presented the Guide to Policy Development and Implementation and discussed the issues it raised regarding the design and implementation of language programmes and the assessment of linguistic. Jean-Claude Beacco gave participants a tour of the new LIAM website
and its resources. Reinhilde Pulinx and Claire Extramiana presented the report on the comprehensive 2013 survey on linguistic integration of adult migrants (LIAM) completed by 36 CoE member states, drawing attention to emerging trends.
Participants then divided into groups to discuss questions regarding (1) the kind of language competence migrants actually need, and how the very different levels required by CoE member states relate to these needs; (2) the purpose and rationale of the kind of testing favoured by many member states, and available alternatives; (3) the contrast between tests which can aid migrants and tests used for regulatory or exclusionary purposes.
Points raised during discussion included: the question of how best to identify the language needs of individual migrants; the importance of support for individualised and autonomous learning; the need for learner training (i.e. training how to learn); that language proficiency is a necessary but not sufficient condition for integration; the difference between ‘instrumental’ and practical language needs; the degree of variation between states regarding the CEFR levels required of migrants (ranging from zero to B1); that policies often appear to be based on political considerations, or on policies adopted elsewhere, rather than evidence of what works in respect of integration; that language ‘profiles’ work better than language ‘levels’; that the CEFR levels do not represent an even increase in difficulty (i.e. levels A1 and A2 are closer than A2 and B1, and A2 and B1 are closer than B1 and B2 etc.); the question of whether the primary purpose of tests is integration or exclusion; the issue of how tests are used (i.e. as a barrier or as a tool to diagnose needs and measure progress); that standardised tests make it harder to tailor courses to individual needs; how to achieve fairness; that alternatives to tests might include other indicators of social competence/integration; that the view of relevant competences could be broadened beyond language; that it is desirable to find ways of minimising the negative impacts of formal assessment, especially for disadvantaged migrants.
Day one of the conference concluded with presentations on two projects related to LIAM. Alexander Braddell (from the LfW co-ordinating team) gave a presentation on the Language for Work Network
and its aim of enabling sharing of research and resources on a Europe-wide basis.
The director of FIDE
then presented that Swiss project’s comprehensive and multi-layered strategy to aid LIAM in Switzerland, including a range of video and other resources available on its website.
The second and final day of the conference began with reports on piloting of CoE resources designed to support LIAM. Barbara Simpson (a member of LIAM’s co-ordinating group) presented a version of the European Language Portfolio (ELP)
designed for use with adult migrants, and its related guides and worksheets; Costanza Bargellini described piloting of this version of the ELP by the Fondazione ISMU, Milan, through its ‘Vivere in Italia’ project. Richard Rossner, of the European Association for Quality Language Service and also a member of LIAM’s co-ordinating group, then outlined the Council of Europe’s self-assessment handbook for providers and its role in quality assurance; Nataša Pirih Svetina, from the University of Ljubljana, described piloting of the resource.
Cécile Thoreau of the OECD’s International Migration Division (based in its directorate for Employment, Labour and Social Affairs) and Eva Schultz, a policy officer from the EU Commission’s Immigration and Integration Unit (based in its Home Affairs directorate) gave presentations on work by their organisations related to LIAM. Points raised included the importance of evaluation; the value of the Common Basic Principles on Integration (2004)
; the European website on Integration
; and a new round of funding to support initiatives, the Asylum, Migration and Integration Fund
These presentations were followed by a round table discussion on initiatives from four cities, including Wels in Austria (practical orientation tasks out and about); Hamburg in Germany (open conversation groups for migrants); Strasbourg in France (a council of foreign residents that enables involvement in local government); and Torres Vedras in Portugal (non-formal learning and bridge-building projects to migrants and local citizens together, e.g. stories from countries of origins with illustrations).
The conference concluded with remarks from the conference rapporteur, Richard Rossner. He noted that conference participants, despite their diverse professional backgrounds, had engaged in constructive dialogue on a wide range of issues and shown a common commitment to improving support for LIAM; that the Council of Europe’s work in this area was helpful to member states, some of whom proposed to use the CoE’s resources; that related work by the EU, OECD and member states (e.g. the FIDE project) should be taken into account. Finally he noted that delegates to the conference recognised that creating a community of practice in the field of LIAM is necessary to maintain and enhance the quality of language support and the optimisation of opportunities for linguistic integration. This of course is part of the premise for the LfW Network.
Among possible actions for the Council of Europe’s LIAM working group, Richard Rossner listed (1) further survey work on national policies and practices; (2) development of additional resources, including (a) descriptors and guides for supporting migrants with low literacy and/or limited schooling; (b) instruments and guidance for needs assessment in LIAM (including guidance on measures other than testing); (c) streamlining of the European Language Portfolio to create ‘lite’ versions; and (d) work to relate CEFR descriptors to the needs of adult migrants; work to promote language profiles as an alternative to language levels; (3) support for and collaboration with member states, such as piloting and expert visits; and (4) closer linkage with EU, OECD and other bodies.
For further information, including conference presentations, click here
IQ-Congress “Come to Stay – On the Future of Integration in Germany” hosted by the Federal Programme “Integration through Training (IQ)” (German: Integration durch Qualifizierung)
funded by the Federal Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs , Berlin, 4-5 February 2014
The European Centre for Modern Languages (ECML) contributed to the congress with a workshop, presenting the ECML, its tasks and added value as well as two current project (Language for work and LINCQ) on central issues of the congress and IQ: workplace language development for migrant employees.
available in German
Presentation by Matilde Grünhage-Monetti, Language for Work (ECML):
Presentation by Florence Mourlhon-Dallies, Language for Work (ECML), Université Paris V Sorbonne
Presentation by Isabelle Ortiz, LINCQ (ECML):
“Second Language Development in the Workplace: European Perspectives“
Workshop in Donostia – San Sebastian, January 2014
Dott. Matilde Grünhage-Monetti, coordinator for the ECML project, “Language for Work” visited the Basque Country to present a workshop entitled “Second Language Development in the Workplace: European Perspectives”. Everyone who attended commented that the day was worthwhile and a very positive experience.
The aim of the organisers, Banaiz Bagara (an association that promotes the linguistic integration of migrants) and Nazaret Zentroa (a vocational education and training institute) was to learn about the “Language for Work” project and approaches elsewhere in Europe; and consider their relevance to workplace language and bilingual issues in the Basque Country.
The workshop was attended by 25 participants, most of them language teachers or “language officers” (i.e. officials from local authorities, businesses and other institutions, such as foundations, responsible for promoting the Basque language). They worked during the morning in small groups and also took part in plenary sessions reflecting on different topics such as: changing workplace communication practices, the resources available for employees to develop language and communication skills in the workplace, the situation of migrant workers concerning language skills and access to language skills development programmes, as well as cooperation between learning providers, public institutions, employer organisations and trade unions.
M. Grünhage-Monetti presented the results of her research into new workplace communicative practices and requirements arising from structural changes in work and society in the postfordist era. After this illuminating and enriching plenary session, the most interesting question for the participants that arose was, “What does this mean in our own situation where there are two official languages (Spanish and Basque) which do not have the same level of use in society and in the workplace?”
For the last twenty to thirty years there have been programmes, institutional support and financial help to promote and support the use of Basque at work in different sectors. Participants were fully engaged and asked how to make these programmes more participative, how to get more support from institutions, how to think beyond institutional support for language development, how include migrant and low skilled workers in existing programmes, and how to move from academic learning to workplace learning.
These questions were discussed in another plenary session with the help of a management tool for language development, which showed that cooperation between different partners leads to better performance.
Participants showed great interest in these new ideas and methodologies that would enable them to analyse their own work from a different perspective. Imanol Miner, a language officer from Kutxabank, said, “The most interesting point for me was to think about how to further systematize the powerful ability of workers to help each other in their language and communication development – something that has taken place over the years in our company.”
The workshop, organized with the financial support of the Basque Government and Gipuzkoako Foru Aldundia (Provincial Council of Gipuzkoa), achieved very positive media coverage. An interview with Matilde Grünhage-Monetti, published in the Berria newspaper, was widely tweeted and different websites also reproduced the interview along with a summary of the event and its outcomes.
Participants and organizers agreed that they would like this to lead to closer relationships with ECML projects in the future.
Petra Elser and Nereba Peña
The LfW network offers support for a range of activities, including research, professional development and awareness-raising (e.g. events, presentations etc). Please contact Matilde Grünhage Monetti (email@example.com
) for further details.
Network meeting, 5-6 December 2013
The Language-for-Work project held its second Network Meeting in Graz on 5 and 6 December 2013, attended by 26 specialists
(including civil servants, university researchers, learning providers and educational publishers) from 14 European countries.
Read a summary in English
Read a summary in French
Read a summary in Spanish
NOW you can read the news in SPANISH! Look below...
Expert meeting, 2-3 May 2013
Language-for-Work (2012-2015) aims to create a European learning network for professionals in an emerging field: work-related language learning for adult migrants and ethnic minorities. The project’s first network meeting (in December 2012) brought together researchers, learning providers, trade union officials, skills agency representatives and policy-makers.
The LfW team is now designing a website to host
- a web-based library of theoretical/analytical resources
- a toolkit of practical resources
- a contact database of people like you – to support active networking and communication.
After testing, we hope to put the website on line ready for members to contribute information and resources at the end of summer.
We have also created a flyer to promote the project to stakeholders promoting language development for migrants and related professional development (e.g. for language teachers and vocational trainers) including ministries, employment and training agencies, learning providers and research organisations. In connection with the development of this flyer we are collecting examples of good practice across Europe. We aim to publish the flyer in English and French towards the end of June. It will be available to download from this website and may be translated into other languages to serve your purposes (e.g. promoting the issue in your own country)
On 5th and 6th December the ECML in Graz will host the LfW project’s second network meeting. The ECML is able to support up to 16 specialists from ECML member states to attend this meeting. . Other interested parties may attend on a self-funding basis, space permitting. .
Beside the official launch of the LfW website, plans for the event include expert input on learning at work from an organisational perspective, plentiful opportunity for sharing of experience and resources through participant-led workshops and planning on how to expand the Network and move it towards post-project sustainability. Regional activities in 2014 will be also discussed.
Please note that attendance at this event is by invitation. If you would like to attend, please contact the LfW project team here [link to contact form]
With best wishes
The Language-for-Work project team
Project developments in 2012
Language-for-Work (LfW) aims to create a European learning network for professionals involved in work-related language learning for adult migrants and ethnic minorities. The four year project (2012-2015) is sponsored by the European Centre for Modern Languages (www.ecml.at).
Planned project activities include:
- Hosting a series of learning events on different approaches in this field
- Brief research review of relevant policy and practice across Europe
- Developing a web-based resource to support work in this field.
Network meeting, 6-7 December 2012
Report on the Network Meeting
The Language-for-Work project held its first Network Meeting in Graz on 6 and 7 December 2012, attended by 20 specialists (including civil servants, university researchers, learning providers and trade unionists) from 12 European countries.
The meeting’s primary aim was to consult participants on the project’s proposed network. Day 1 activities focused on building relationships and establishing a common frame of reference between participants and included discussion of issues of concern to participants, reviews of concepts and practice in different European countries and a presentation on learning theory. Activities on Day 2 explored participants’ views on the aims, objectives and structure of the proposed network and what actions should be taken next.
Participants endorsed the project’s plan for a European learning network for professionals involved in work-related language development for adult migrants and ethnic minorities, including job-seekers, those in employment and those intending to migrate.
Issues of common concern to participants included national language policies, funding for activity, the role of employers, a range of workplace teaching and learning issues and professional development learning opportunities for those working in this field (e.g. workplace language teachers).
Participants expressed the view that a network would be useful to
• Raise awareness of this field of work
• Develop expertise by enabling sharing of experience and resources.
Participants identified the following objectives for the network:
• Lobbying, advocacy, awareness raising and promotion of the field at national and European levels
• Development of theoretical/conceptual models, practice models, quality frameworks
• Provision of expertise and resources
• Provision of networking and professional development opportunities
Values that participants felt should underpin the network included commitment to the concept of a European community; to diversity, equality of opportunity and social inclusion; to personal development and lifelong learning; and to openness and transparency.
Actions proposed by participants to develop the network included establishing a website, supporting contact between professionals working in this field, setting up special interest groups and holding regional meetings.
The LfW project team welcomed these suggestions and undertook to involve participants as fully as possible in its proposed work plan, including organising learning events, sharing knowledge on policy and practice in different European countries and developing a web site to facilitate network communication and sharing of knowledge and resources.
Next steps were agreed, including development by the LfW project team of
• Proposal for structure and procedures for participants to communicate and contribute
• Project web site (including a resource library and methodological tool-kit)
• Further country profiles (produced if possible by local correspondents) Glossary of terminology useful to understand local approaches to work-related language learning.
The project team also undertook to
• Facilitate the establishment of special interest groups
• Support interested participants to organise regional events in their own countries
• Liaise with other organisations, projects and individuals to ensure alignment and synergy.
First expert meeting, 28-30 March 2012
Are you interested in supporting migrant and/or ethnic minority workers to gain work-related language skills?
You may be
- a learning provider
- a researcher
- an employer or trade union official
- a skills agency representative or policy-maker
Whatever your background, we would like to invite you to join us in a networking project supported by the European Centre for Modern Languages.
We aim to create a web-based, European learning network to support people working in the field of vocational language skills for migrants and ethnic minorities.
The project will develop
- a web-based library of theoretical/analytical resources
- a toolkit of practical resources
- a contact database of people like you – to support active networking.
In addition, an ECML fellowship will help the project develop a compendium of policies and practice across Europe by the end of this year – ensuring a genuine European perspective on the issue.
Over four years, the project aims to create a rich resource of ideas, material, data and contacts – drawing on the full diversity of European approaches to learning and teaching, labour market structures and policies.
To achieve its aims, the project needs your involvement.
- Join the network
- Engage with other professionals
- Share your expertise
- Contribute material (in English, French or any other language)
- Disseminate the project to other networks in your country, and
- Support social inclusion – from which we all can only benefit!
Contact us here
With best wishes
The Language-for-Work project team
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«Idioma para el trabajo (LFW)» tiene como objetivo crear una Red europea de profesionales que intervienen en el aprendizaje de lenguas relacionadas con el mundo del trabajo por parte de inmigrantes adultos y minorías étnicas. El proyecto, de cuatro años (2012-2015), está patrocinado por el Centro Europeo de Lenguas Modernas del Consejo de Europa (www.ecml.at).
Las actividades previstas en este proyecto incluyen
- La organización de una serie de encuentros de especialistas de los diferentes enfoques en este campo.
- La realización de una breve reseña sobre las líneas de investigación y las líneas políticas sobre este aspecto en toda Europa.
- Desarrollo de un recurso basado en la web para apoyar el trabajo en este campo.
La primera reunión del proyecto tuvo lugar en en Graz el 6 y 7 de diciembre de 2012, con la participación de 20 especialistas de 12 países europeos que incluían funcionarios públicos, investigadores universitarios, formadores y sindicalistas.
El objetivo principal de la reunión era consultar a los participantes sobre la creación de la red propuesta en el proyecto. El primer día las actividades se centraron en la construcción de relaciones, el establecimiento de un marco común de referencia entre los participantes, la revisión de conceptos, la práctica en diferentes países europeos y la presentación de una teoría del aprendizaje.
La discusión incluyó cuestiones de interés para los participantes. En el segundo día las actividades giraron en torno a la exploración de las opiniones de los participantes sobre los objetivos y la estructura de la red propuesta y sobre las acciones que deben emprenderse después.
Los participantes respaldaron el proyecto de una Red europea de aprendizaje para los profesionales involucrados en el trabajo relacionado con el desarrollo del lenguaje de los inmigrantes adultos y de las minorías étnicas, incluidos los solicitantes de empleo, los ya empleados y quienes tengan la intención de emigrar.
Las cuestiones de interés común para todos los participantes incluyeron las políticas lingüísticas nacionales, aspectos relativos a la financiación de la actividad, el papel de los empresarios, el tipo de enseñanzas que deberían darse en el lugar de trabajo, los problemas de aprendizaje y las oportunidades de desarrollo profesional para las personas que trabajan en este campo como por ejemplo, los profesores de idiomas. Los participantes expresaron la opinión de que una Red de este tipo sería muy útil para:
- Crear conciencia sobre la importancia de esta área de trabajo.
- Desarrollar conocimientos, permitiendo el intercambio de experiencias y recursos.
Los participantes identificaron los siguientes objetivos para la Red:
- La creación de grupos de presión, promoción, sensibilización y promoción de este campo a nivel nacional y europeo.
- El desarrollo de modelos teórico-conceptuales, de modelos de buenas prácticas y de estándares comunes de calidad.
- La provisión de conocimientos y recursos.
- La generación de redes y oportunidades de desarrollo profesional.
Los participantes señalaron que los valores que deben sustentar la Red incluía el compromiso con el concepto de comunidad europea, con el de diversidad, igualdad de oportunidades e inclusión social, para el desarrollo personal y el aprendizaje a lo largo de toda la vida y con el de apertura y transparencia. Las acciones propuestas por los participantes para desarrollar la Red incluyeron el establecimiento de un sitio web, el favorecer el contacto entre los profesionales que trabajan en este campo, la creación de grupos con intereses comunes y la celebración de reuniones regionales.
El equipo del proyecto LFW acogió estas sugerencias y se comprometieron a involucrar, en la medida de lo posible, a los participantes en su plan de trabajo, incluyendo la organización de eventos de aprendizaje, el intercambio de conocimientos sobre políticas y prácticas en diferentes países europeos y el desarrollo de un sitio web para facilitar la comunicación en red y el intercambio de conocimientos y recursos.
Se acordaron los siguientes pasos que incluyen los desarrollados por el equipo del proyecto LFW
- Elaboración de un folleto de promoción del proyecto.
- Creación de una estructura para que los participantes puedan comunicarse entre si y hacer contribuciones.
- Diseñó de un sitio web del proyecto en el que se incluya una biblioteca de recursos y una caja de herramientas metodológicas.
- La realización de perfiles de países adicionales producidos, si es posible, por corresponsables locales.
- La elaboración de un glosario de términos útiles para entender los enfoques locales sobre el aprendizaje de la lengua relacionada con el trabajo.
El equipo del proyecto también se comprometió a
- Facilitar la creación de grupos con intereses comunes.
- Apoyar a los participantes interesados en la organización de eventos regionales en sus propios paía;ses.
- Servir de enlace con otras organizaciones, proyectos e individuos para asegurar la coordinación y el fomento de nuevas iniciativas.