BCTEAL Award to fund First Aid materials for community partners
Written by Victoria Surtees
The TLC, in collaboration with partners from Continuing Education and Archway Community Services has been awarded $4000 from BCTEAL, the province’s professional association for Teachers of English as an Additional Language. The award will fund a project to create First Aid teaching materials that suit the unique needs of Archway’s students, most of whom are newcomers to Canada.
The idea was born out of a conversation between Victoria Surtees, the TLC’s Internationalization Specialist, and Mike Mutter, an instructor with UFV Continuing Education. The First Aid courses Mike provides are designed to help job seeking immigrants from Archway’s Employment Program to gain work-related skills. But Mike noticed that the condensed one-day courses and the complexity of the standard materials didn’t always meet participants’ needs. “The vocabulary and the multiple-choice test are really challenging,” explains Mike. He knows there are also some past experiences and cultural elements that impact students’ engagement with the content too – fear of helping, fear of touching, fear of the consequences should they do something wrong. In essence, what the participants needed was culturally sensitive English language materials. But they also needed materials that would accurately reflect current First Aid knowledge… and that was not something most English language teachers could provide. It became clear that the path forward was a collaborative and interdisciplinary one.
With guidance from Paula Mannington, Manager of English language Services at Archway, as well as Carolyn MacLaren, Director of Continuing Education, it was decided to produce materials that Archway could use to prepare English language learners to take Mike’s course, and possibly other UFV courses with health-related components as well. “First Aid is really the foundation,” explains Paula, “– in the home, at school, and eventually at the workplace, knowing First Aid gives newcomers confidence and control of difficult situations.” The materials, slated to be completed by summer 2022, will be made freely available via BCTEAL’s website.