Growing Language Skills with Immigrant and Refugee Families: Spreading and Adapting 2Gen Working Practices

For immigrant parents in the United States, lack of English-language proficiency can be a barrier to good jobs, healthcare, education and more. Family-school communication challenges, inadequate educational supports or the lack of quality programs for young, immigrant-background children who are dual language learners may also fuel educational achievement gaps. Social service organizations can support immigrant and refugee families through culturally responsive programs that build on the strengths of the home language while also helping grow English language skills.

What does it take for service organizations to grow home and English language skills with immigrant and refugee families, and what positive results can flow from those efforts? What steps can organizations take to provide accessible and inclusive services to families who speak a language other than English?

You can read this brief on Language Skills and Immigrant and Refugee Families here:

Image by annemcdon from Pixabay

New Cambridge online module helps English teachers boost students’ employability skills

English language teachers who want to help their students improve their core skills for the workplace can benefit from the new Employability Skills module from experts at Cambridge University Press & Assessment. The short module has been designed to help improve students’ understanding of the skills they will be expected to know in the workplace.

The module comes with realistic workplace situational videos with interactive and reflection activities and a speaking or writing task for students to complete at the end of each unit. There are also teacher notes, student worksheets, video scripts and glossaries for teachers to use in the classroom.

Read more about this employability skills module here:

Image by StartupStockPhotos from Pixabay

Creating pathways to employment for immigrants through language learning

Thanks to the European Social Fund, the ‘Bremen Integration Qualification’ (BIQ) project  provides not only language lessons free of charge for  young immigrants in Bremen, five days a week, but also lessons in mathematics and IT, which allow them to improve their maths and computer skills while gaining experience for an apprenticeship. Since the start of the project nearly 900 young immigrants have benefited from these opportunities. Managed by the Red Cross, BIQ is already providing support to young people fleeing the war in Ukraine.

Read more about this wonderful project here:

Picture: (cc) Ministry of Economic Affairs, Labour and Europe in Bremen

Speaking more than one language opens up additional job opportunities for graduates

The UK sees a fairly large proportion of the population speak multiple languages, with 9.2% of the country speaking a main language other than English – according to data from the Office for National Statistics. With so many languages being spoken throughout the UK, is there more benefit to adults that have the ability to speak languages other than English?

According to new research from the University of Portsmouth, students that graduate university able to speak multiple languages will have access to better job prospects than their peers, with German and French being the most highly sought-after by employers. However, with many schools opting to drop modern languages from their curriculum, this could potentially be costing future students the job opportunities that come with demand for multilingualism.

Read more here:

Are some languages more difficult than others?

Question from ‘Curious Kid’  Maria Júlia, aged 14, São Lourenço, Brazil in The Conversation:

Some languages seem harder than others. Does that mean that the brains of people who speak those languages are more stimulated?

Are some languages harder than others? For example, is Japanese more difficult than English?

To answer the question, the first thing we have to do is distinguish between babies learning their first language and children or adults learning a second language. For babies who learn their first language, no language is harder than another. Babies all learn their first language in about the same period of time. This is because learning a language is natural for all babies, like learning to walk.

A baby’s brain comes into the world prepared to learn any human language they hear spoken around them. The brain gets the same stimulation from exposure to any language, although it adapts to certain features of the language such as specific sounds. There is no evidence that some languages make you smarter.

In fact, babies can even acquire two (or more) languages together, if they hear them regularly. The languages can be similar, like Portuguese and Spanish, or very different, like English and Chinese – but the baby’s brain can learn them at the same time.

But that changes if you already speak a language and are learning a second one. A language that is very different to the one you already know is going to seem harder than one that’s quite similar to your first language.

Read more here:

Language barriers and the importance of language learning for refugee and migrant communities in Europe

Migrant people often travel to Europe through many countries before reaching their destination. Each country they enter has different cultures and customs, and language plays a major role in facilitating or hindering their journey.

Read the rest of this blog here:

Open Cultural Center supports migrants and refugees in Spain and Greece by offering free language classes, with the aim to support refugees’ integration and improve their chances of accessing training and employment opportunities.