Connecting Language and Culture in Community

This knowledge exchange event is focused on creating a model to support a cross-sectorial discussion on language and culture as it relates to newcomer settlement in rural Alberta. Economic drivers and a desire to live in smaller communities are common motivations for newcomer settlement in rural Alberta. Since 1961, changing patterns of immigration have meant the current influx of immigrants are coming from countries that are culturally more distant than in prior periods of immigration. Cultural distance refers to the degree of difference between two cultures (politics, technical and economic experiences, language, size and cultural patterns of gender, hierarchy, time, etc.). Often times, the greater the cultural distance, the longer the period of adjustment and settlement into a new country and community. In Rural Alberta, Community Adult Learning Councils (CALCs) and Volunteer Tutor programs (VTALPs) have responded to the need for ESL programming. This knowledge exchange event will build on the existing foundation of support provided by the Taber CALC and aim to expand the conversation about the ways culture influences language both in the community and at work. Through two consultation sessions, community and work-place solutions to support newcomer integration will be discussed and disseminated.

Sponsor: Alberta Rural Development Network
Project Team: Erin Waugh, Cheryl Whitelaw
Partners: Taber Adult Learning Council, iCCAN
Project Time Frame: March 2011 - February 2012
Deliverables: Lessons Learned, Project Report