Everyone who has ever taken a foreign language course throughout their education can attest to the fact that learning a language is a difficult endeavor. Many people spend years in their secondary education taking courses in French, or Spanish, or German…. Only to be able to recite rudimentary greetings in a rigidly formal style.
The challenge only increases as we age. Research shows that learning a language is more difficult the older you are. Theories about why this is the case abound, and many researchers cite context and methods, rather than ability, much more important factors. What is an adult to do if, say, their work now requires them to be able to communicate fluently in a new language?
The answer for some lies in personalized, industry specific instruction. A client saw this within her own diverse staff, who required conversational English to communicate with their customer base and peers. In an effort to increase retention rates in an industry notorious for outlandish turnover rates and a high population of non-native English speakers, Ari Samaniego of Sheraton Vistana Villages in Central Florida sought opportunities to not only engage her staff in English language study, but to do so in a way that directly related to their everyday work environment.
“The personalization is really important- [LTC’s instructors] are making sure that they are delivering the right message.”
These tactics not only focus on vocabulary, but also on techniques that allow for contextual learning. Utilizing social media in a lesson, or learning grammar through natural conversation, all contribute to a unique and individualized language training program.
The trainings have transformed the lives of the participating employees in more ways than one. In their work lives, she has noticed a surge of confidence, even in staff members who had previously been reluctant to speak to customers and other staff members. She told of one employee’s eagerness to pursue the courses, seeing them as an opportunity for career growth: “She’s very happy to improve her English because she is aware that it’s what is really holding her back from growing within the company.”
Another team member hoped that the growth he made during lessons would also translate to other areas of his life. “His main worry was that he wanted to help his children with homework,” she explained to us. Happily, he is well on his way to meeting this goal. “Yesterday, he was telling me about how he was able to sit down with his daughter and go over her homework, and be able to understand it and help her with it!”
These stories, like many others over the 23 years of operation, are the spirit behind LTC Language Solutions. Each member of the staff is passionate about connecting people into their workplaces and communities by eliminating cultural and language barriers that stand in their way. Each success story demonstrates the personal and professional benefits of being culturally aware and linguistically capable in our communities- whether it’s the neighborhood we live in or our supply network at the office.
-Casey Buchanan, Marketing Coordinator