Health Literacy and Conference

8:01 a.m.: A young man approaches your clinic window in silence, bending and flexing his fingers while looking you straight in the eye.

8:02 a.m.: The young woman standing behind him moans: Mijn hoofd doet pijn.

8:03 a.m.: A client calls: “A doctor friend thinks I might have fractured my tibia. What is a tibia, anyway? Is there some kind of over-the-counter medication for that?”

You’ve got a long day ahead of you!

“Say What?” is an interactive presentation that challenges participants to bridge the communication gaps that impact health literacy, especially due to education, language, culture and sensory challenges. Health literacy is the ability to obtain, understand and use basic health concepts, information and services in functional ways that enhance health. Presenter Chris Tittel takes health literacy into consideration every day in his role as public information officer and marketing director for the Monroe County Health Department. Health literacy is key to effective public relations and marketing, especially when researching, drafting and editing press releases, communicating one-on-one with members of the media and the general public and knowing where to refer anyone in need of particular services. “Say What?” also offers tips and tools that can help anyone working in the health care setting communicate more effectively with the general public, clients and each other.

Roberta Reiss- “ESOL Conversation Clubs: Design and Delivery”

Just like any endeavor, successful conversation clubs require some careful thought and planning to meet the needs of the adult learners seeking to improve their listening and speaking skills.

The design should grow from the needs of the participants and your motivation for forming the club:

  • Is it a request from existing learners already active in your literacy program?
  • Is it an idea coming from tutors who see a need for their learners to get more conversation practice?
  • Do you need a way to keep learners on your waiting list connected to the program in a productive setting?

If you are meeting the needs of existing learners, be sure to ask them what they want to practice specifically.  Are they focused on life skills English, current affairs or grammar in use?  The content of your sessions should reflect their preferences.  It will also be feasible to have sessions with a start date and end date that build on one another.

If it is to help your learners on the waiting list start their learning before they are matched with a tutor, you should consider an open-ended, open-enrollment, drop-in model for the club.  This will require the facilitator to create stand-alone sessions with a different topic for every meeting.  It will also require skill in facilitating multi-level sessions with learners of varying skill levels.

Roberta Reiss

For any model, adult learners will appreciate having the chance to master and practice specific skills, whether it is life skill dialogues, grammar in use, or pronunciation.  This can be achieved with learning activities in which there is two-way interaction, time within the session to allow learners to plan what they might say, and a task with a closed solution or end product.

Within the session, the facilitator can rely on a set procedure no matter what the topic:

  • Announce the topic
  • Present vocabulary and allow for practice
  • Model the learning activity
  • Create pairs/small groups to do the activity
  • Walk through the room to offer help, monitor work flow and clarify the task
  • Have learners report back to the whole group

Meeting the needs and expectations of your adult learners is the best way to ensure attendance and gains in skill levels.

If you would like to see the full “Conversation Clubs” webinar hosted January 22, please click here.