Getting to know you…

When your  business employs overseas staff, you know that getting through the red tape is only the first step. The real work (for you and your employee) is making sure they’re integrated and happy in their new job and the wider community. A useful way to ensure that they’e well settled is to spend some time making sure they know their way around their neighbourhood, both physically and socially.

One of the first things our students do is to become orientated to their new town and surrounding area. Knowing where the places essential to their wellbeing are is important, whether they’re schools, workplaces, or GPs.

Lower level students

For beginners and low intermediates we teach ‘survival’ English consisting of the basic English needed to navigate work, travel, and life in general (shopping, local services and so on).  This allows the student to communicate with confidence and makes an excellent framework for higher level reading, writing, speaking and listening skills.

Higher level students

Upper intermediate and advanced students need more comprehensive knowledge of their area, not just where they can find a supermarket or the local nightlife. We encourage them to discuss and debate regional issues, read about local current affairs and voice their opinions.

Learning also needs to be fun, so as an introduction to the classes we include something that’s both engaging, and can be used a resource later in the lesson. An example might be a UK countries activity for higher level learners. Students are paired and given these maps of England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. Each pair has to work out from the letters they’re given what the name of each county is.

This works well as an initial activity to find out their general geographic knowledge of the UK. It can be broken down further, and our teachers do a similar activity with their own county map showing the major towns and larger villages. This is a great jumping off point to explore different topics, such as:

    • local industry
    • social and industrial history
    • population
    • economics

The county maps are a limitless resource for lower levels too. Simple maps with the major towns can be used to teach:

    • directions and road signs / road features
    • numbers, more than / less than (population)
    • prepositions of position (near, far away from etc.)
    • pronunciation of place names

Resources might include this map of Cornwall and town street maps, here we’ve taken Falmouth as an example.

You may like to add one of our courses into your staff training or mentoring programme. We’d be happy to speak with you to discuss a course or just talk about one or two orientation classes. Whatever you decide, community integration is a worthwhile way to settle your staff into their new work life and home.

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