At the Cape Fear Literacy Council, we specialize in providing personalized adult education. This approach looks a little different for every adult learner that walks through our door. Whether they want to brush up on their math skills to pass the GED, or improve their English language skills to find a better job, CFLC meets students where they are. We design a unique learning plan for each student, based on their academic and personal goals — like learning to read books with grandchildren, or pass the citizenship naturalization exam.
What many people don’t realize is that CFLC has recently taken this unique approach to teaching outside of what we consider our “traditional services.” In the last year, we’ve begun offering tailored professional development workshops for employers and service providers in the Cape Fear region. We offer one professional development training in particular that has been gaining momentum in recent months: a workshop that integrates cultural sensitivity and communication strategies titled “How to Talk to People who are Learning English.”
Since Hurricane Florence, we have heard from numerous community members, as well as our own ESL students, that there are often language and cultural barriers that make it difficult for the ESL population to utilize social services. Even agencies that have access to language interpreters may not always have the skills and expertise needed to navigate cultural differences. Based on experiences from our own ESL students and feedback from our community partners, we’ve developed a workshop to address some of these common challenges.
Our 3-hour, interactive professional development training, “How to Talk to People who are Learning English” is designed for community members and organizations who typically interact with, and provide services to, people who may not speak English as their primary language. This workshop goes through cultural sensitivity training, offers strategies and tools for overcoming language barriers, discusses the difference between nonverbal signals, and allows participants the opportunity to apply their learning to real-life scenarios. Remember our unique approach to providing personalized education services? This workshop can be tailored and adapted for whatever group receives the training. Whether it’s healthcare providers, public school teachers, or other nonprofits that work with ESL populations on a regular basis, this workshop can be custom-made to address the unique challenges of that particular field or organization.
Our hope is to provide local community organizations with the knowledge and skills they need to provide effective services to the international population living in the Cape Fear region. By simultaneously delivering English language instruction to our ESL students, while also offering these custom professional development workshops to local businesses, we hope to improve the overall equity of services available in the Cape Fear area.
For 35 years, CFLC has been providing personalized adult education services to our students. Now, we are taking our unique approach to teaching into the greater Wilmington community.
Lauren Rogers is the ESL Program Director. She became involved with CFLC while working as an AmeriCorps member at Interfaith Refugee Ministry — Wilmington in 2016, and is enjoying being involved with CFLC as a staff member. Lauren holds a B.A in International Studies and a B.A. in Communication Studies from the University of North Carolina — Wilmington. While pursuing her degrees, she spent a summer studying French and International Politics in Senegal. Lauren graduated in May 2016 and has been involved with non-profits since then.
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