So far, the previously-mentioned best practices focued on migrants’ backgrounds, cultural differences, and communication and language.
Now, it is time to underline one more element: Relationship building and trust
Get to know your audience
Teachers/trainers should get to know their target group, the adult learners with whom they will be working. It is not always easy to speak about money and how to deal with it with an audience that has a vulnerable economic status and is at more financial risk. Teachers/trainers should try to build a relationship of trust – that would lead to a more open and personal encounter that would eventually become a supporting learning environment – by listening to their stories, needs, dreams and goals. A teacher/trainer isn’t and shouldn’t be a saviour but a support and/or a starting point to co-develop their self-initiated future based on their abilities and strengths.
Create a safe environment
It is important to create a safe space where all persons involved feel that they can participate in their own time and pace – acknowledging that each individual learner has their own time and pace to feel confident enough to participate in any discussion and exercise. A safe space leads to trust and trust then leads to confidence which is a key element in any learning process. Confidence would in turn support and encourage learners to actively participate in the learning process and use everything that has been learned in practice.
This is a key culturally responsive teaching strategy. To build rapport with your own students, ask questions about their strengths, how they learn best, their personal and professional goals, and what they hope to get out of the course. It is important to build trusting relationships with students who feel marginalised or misunderstood. Neuroscience is clear on the connection between emotions, trust, and learning. Stress hormones from mistrust block cognition. Learners respond to a teacher’s/trainer’s focus on care by giving their permission to be tough and push them toward higher achievement.
Teachers/trainers should help learners to find out what they are good at, what is their purpose and passion and why, in other words, awaken their curiosity. Building courage is important so that learners feel that they have what it takes. Moreover, teachers/trainers should foster interpersonal skills in learners when exchanging experiences with others in a group. Fostering peer-mentoring and peer-to-peer approach among the learners is beneficial in smaller groups to create a positive atmosphere and trust among the participants. Teachers/trainers could for example use role-playing activities in order to boost empathy among the learners and to be able to ‘put themselves in others’ shoes’ while sharing personal experiences and expertise.