Pupils with limited Faroese language skills risk social isolation

05.10.2021 - 13:55
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Pupils with limited Faroese language skills risk social isolation
We should have introduced structured Faroese language teaching for immigrant pupils years ago, but there is hope ahead, says Teachers’ Association
Jacob Eli S. Olsen is the chairman of the Teachers’ Association
 

About 230 children with a non-Nordic background currently attend Faroese schools.

Many of these are finding it difficult to learn the Faroese language, and that can cause serious problems for them, says Jacob Eli S. Olsen, chairman of the Teachers’ Association.

“A key prerequisite for learning is that the pupils feel good and safe in their school environment,” he says.

“To feel good and safe, a pupil needs to feel part of the community. But, obviously, if the child cannot communicate at the same level as his or her classmates, there will be an inevitable degree of social isolation.”

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It is crucial, he adds, that Faroese schools do everything possible to help these children beyond this first hurdle.

“These efforts should have begun years ago, but it is good to see that work is underway to address this big problem.”

Olsen says it is essential that the authorities do not fall into complacency in this regard and continue to develop Faroese language tuition for immigrant pupils.

 >> SEE ALSO Integration is more than just learning a new language

An ideal scenario, he says, would be to have special Faroese-as-a-second-language classes in every school, with fully qualified teachers in this field.

“It would also be great if we could establish a system in which our schools provide supplementary teaching in each immigrant pupil’s native language.”

Things are improving

Although there is some way to go before we reach such a scenario, many teachers are currently receiving training in teaching Faroese as a second language.

And this week, a new team of 31 teachers enrolled in a 30-month diploma course in teaching Faroese as a second language at the University of the Faroe Islands.

 

Listen to an interview with Jacob Eli S. Olsen (in Faroese) here (starting at 2:51). A sound clip (also in Faroese) about the 31 teachers starting their new diploma course is available here.

Translated by prosa.fo.

More Faroese News in English.

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