Every Thursday, Jadranka, Zhihong, Elzsebeth, Hong Li and Aneta together with their colleagues participate in Danish lessons at Sprogcenter Midt, before or after they report to their work at the care center or in home care in Herning Municipality. Together with the teacher, they focus on the language that they have to use in everyday life at the workplace. It is both oral language that they must use when they talk to colleagues, citizens and relatives. And it is written language when they must briefly and precisely document changes in a citizen’s well-being or behaviour.
The fact that the course is professional and together with colleagues means an incredible amount to the employees. “It’s great to meet other colleagues and discover that I’m not the only one who has some challenges with the language,” says Jadranka. Aneta adds: “I am positively surprised by the program and that it is relevant to my daily work. I get more control over when and how I can use the expressions that I hear in my everyday life.”
The employees themselves contribute to the teaching with the language that is relevant to them. Instructor Berit Neergaard says: “The course participants come with relevant and good cases from their working lives. Cases that are brought to the fore due to a language challenge, but which testify to great commitment and professionalism in relation to helping the elderly citizen.” She finds that it is incredibly motivating that employees can go straight into their working lives and use the language they learn in class.
Lisbeth Munk, who is a recruitment consultant in Health and Elderly in Herning Municipality, has helped start the Danish lessons. For her, it has been important that the employees are raised linguistically, so that they can keep up with developments within the industry. Therefore, it is also of great importance to her that the employees are taught in an industry-oriented team: “They quickly get to know each other and can recognize each other’s experiences from practice. In teaching, they can therefore help each other to examine what one could have said or written in different situations.” She has no doubt that the course makes a difference: “In just the eight weeks they have been on so far, they have gained much more self-confidence and dare to make mistakes and try again. It provides better well-being for themselves and their Danish colleagues that they become more proficient in Danish. And then it means a lot,” she states, “that the citizens and their relatives experience higher quality in the care they can receive from us. And that’s why we go to work every day – so it gives us job satisfaction”.