By Linda Davies, Sandhya Ghai, Chelsea McPherson and Shabnam Rohbani — Language Instruction for Newcomers to Canada (LINC) Coordinators
September means back-to-school – and not just for children; it’s adults too.
The MOSAIC Language Program offers free English language instruction classes from Literacy to Level 7 through the Language Instruction for Newcomers to Canada (LINC) program. And we are all set to welcome our students into our second term of 100% online classes as of this month.
As everyone scrambles to get back to school and learning, LINC has continued to adapt to all the changes that have come about due to COVID.
When the pandemic first hit, the Language Program Team worked hard to respond, maintain, and reinvent service delivery. In less than 30 days, the team was able to move all LINC classes to 100% online to begin Project Remote Learning.
Normally, the LINC program offers English language instruction tailored to the needs and interests of the participating students in face-to-face classes, or optional blended classes (part online/part face-to-face). We’ve been offering our innovative blended classes since 2011 and saw such great results that we started supplementary parallel online classes for all our students more than six years ago.
However, COVID changed all that and forced a “new normal.”
It was amazing to see how the team of over 40 staff across three sites came together in the spirit of collaboration to meet this challenge head on. All this hard work paid off. We have set up 72 online classes with learning environments filled with all the needed content. In addition, our littlest clients in the childcare centres have learning activities prepared by our childcare staff, so that families can continue to play and learn together.
To support students who may not have access to technology at home, our instructors continue to connect by phone and traditional mail. For those students who needed a little more help to use their devices, instructors and volunteers support them with digital literacy skills and lots of patient trouble shooting. Even some of our students’ family members have pitched in!
The LINC curriculum is designed to address the settlement needs of our students relating to life and work in Canada. With the pandemic, that life now includes the reality of most services going online. Our students report that the supportive environment of their LINC classes allow them to participate in other services that required digital literacy. This includes:
- Parents supporting their children in remote learning;
- Doctors appointments occurring over Zoom or Skype;
- Online shopping and ordering; and
- People socializing with family and friends remotely.
We are so proud and grateful to all our staff who supported Project Remote Learning with innovative design, professional delivery and compassion towards their students, colleagues and themselves. We couldn’t have done this without everyone pitching in.
An A+ and special thanks to our Program Support Workers, Early Childhood Educators, instructors, developers, management and volunteers. We also want to thank MOSAIC settlement workers who worked closely with us to onboard students with first language support.
If you are interested in joining our program, don’t hesitate to contact us!
- For general LINC information: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Burnaby: email@example.com
- Surrey: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Vancouver: email@example.com
MOSAIC is one of Canada’s largest settlement and employment agencies helping immigrants, refugees and newcomers. MOSAIC enriches communities through services and advocacy, furthering the success and sense of belonging of newcomers and individuals from diverse backgrounds. Learn more at mosaicbc.org/about.