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Immigrants on adult literacy course take to the sea to improve language skills

An adult literacy service mainly used by immigrants is using the wonders of the sea to improve English language skills.

The Galway Adult Basic Education Service (GABES) of the Galway and Roscommon Education and Training Board (GRETB) provides support for people who need help to improve their literacy, numeracy and digital skills.

Where there are nationalities from all over the world as well as Irish people who may have experienced difficulties in school using the service, for over a year there has been a major influx of Ukranians attending classes.

In order to add an element of “innovation and collaboration within our community”, Youth Officer at GRETB Training Centre, Róisín McLoughlin, devised “a living literacy project” with partners including the Galway Hooker Sailing Club and Galway Bay Boat Tours.

Called beo 2023, the series of workshops pivot around the meaning of the Irish word ‘beo’, which translates to be alive or to live.

“The idea was to enhance the learners’ sense of wellbeing and belonging through the practical application of literacy, numeracy and digital skills and connecting with the community,” she explains.

“Learners get the opportunity to forge a new sense of identity and foster a sense of belonging in their community. The content covered varies from the history and cultural significance of the Claddagh area, Irish customs and language, water safety, gastronomy with Galway Bay Sea Foods and City Sushi, to the building of the Galway Hooker boats and their heritage to this day.”

The 60 students – whose nationalities included Ukrainian, Algerian, Syrian, Congolese, Romanian, Spanish, Brazilian, Croatian – were taught digital skills by using apps to create teaching and learning resources about the project itself. The course was based at the GABES headquarters on New Dock Street.

Pictured: Tutors and students from ‘beo 2023’ at the Long Walk in Galway.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune:

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