PEOPLE WITH PHYSICAL DISABILITIES
PEOPLE WITH LEARNING DISABILITIES
PEOPLE WITH MENTAL HEALTH ISSUES
LEARNERS IN PRISON
PEOPLE LIVING IN DIFFICULT CIRCUMSTANCES
YOUNG PEOPLE OVERCOMING DISADVANTAGE
PEOPLE SEEKING EMPLOYMENT
Swedish for Senior Citizens, Denmark
Type of learners
Older learners over 60 years of age
Size 19 participants
Lokalcenter Vestervang in central Århus.
Lokalcenter Vestervang is one of 35 municipal Community Centres in the greater Århus area. They have been developed from nursing and rest homes into activity centres for older people living in the local area. Thus these centres have two groups of users:
- resident sick or senile elderly people who are nursed and cared for; only few of these can take advantage of common activities
- non-resident users – people above 60 years of age living in the local area who come to the centres for social and cultural activities.
Every centre has an elected user committee which, together with the Activities Manager, draws up the plan for activities and makes appointments for half a year at a time.
AIM of project
To make these Danish senior citizens better acquainted with Swedish language and culture.
The three Scandinavian countries are closely linked linguistically and historically. Grammar and the written languages are very similar but intonations differ strongly enough for the majority of people in the three countries to find their neighbouring language incomprehensible. Consequently there is very little general knowledge of each other’s language, everyday life and history.
TEACHERS / FACILITATORS
background / previous experience
Miss Tora S (TS) is Swedish born. She moved to Denmark five years ago and married a Dane. She had no particular experience working with old people and no prior knowledge of centres for the elderly and what goes on in them. She put a lot of effort into it and had great success.
Mrs KR is Activities Manager of Lokalcenter Vestervang.
- establishing the group
KR liked the concept and advertised it to the users of the Community Centre on the billboard and by word of mouth, resulting in 19 users signing up for a Swedish class.
- preparation of staff
The teacher had a meeting with KR to learn about the centre and its users and discuss practical matters. KR knows the non-resident users of the centre quite well and gave TS some good hints to themes she thought her users would like to learn about.
PEDAGOGY [methods and materials]
The course had two elements, language and culture.
The linguistic part of the course has consisted of reading untranslated Swedish texts – literature and magazines – watching Swedish videos without subtexts and of Tora speaking only Swedish for some of the time. When languages are so closely related as Swedish and Danish, the differences become traps and with her perfect Danish Tora could do highly sophisticated comparative teaching.
Tora has a lifelong knowledge of Sweden, its traditions, education system, history, arts, handicrafts and media. In addition she has also a good knowledge of these things in Denmark and consequently she can teach a lot by comparison.
LENGTH of project
20 lessons - Tuesdays from 2 to 4 pm – October 28 to December 9, 2003
for learners/teachers/management of the agency
Participants were very happy with the Swedish course. Many praised the Activities Manager for this initiative. It was a welcome alternative to the more common activities offered at the Community Centres like sing-along sessions and bingo. This was more of a challenge and much more satisfying. They had all got enough taste of it to want to learn more if the opportunity comes. There was a lot of interest in cultural elements of the course. . Some would like to learn more about Swedish painters and sculptors; some were into Swedish movies and literature, while others would just like to learn more of the language.