Expert Interview

Interview Guide

  1. How does adult refugees experience learning Norwegian?
  2. How do different age groups experience the learning process?
  3. What are the biggest issues for young adult refugees while learning Norwegian?
  4. How does a pre-knowledge of the English language influence learning Norwegian?
  5. What are your thoughts on things that can be improved?
  6. What impact does social interaction in Norwegian outside of the class have?
  7. Do students generally succeed?
  8. Are you happy with the level of fluency that most of the students reach during the course?
  9. Have you heard of digital apps like duolingo etc, how do you think they supplement the course?
  10. Would you recommend more people use duolingo or a similar app, Why? Or Why not?

Who was interviewed?

The interview subject is Jon Bjerkan a Norwegian Teacher who has taught Adult Refugees.

Where was the interview conducted?

Both of the participants in the interview where in the comfort of their own home using digital video chat.

How was the interview Conducted

The semi structured interview was done using digital video chat. Omar from the research group was conducting the interview and the interview subject, Jon Bjerkan, was participating. A screen recording was made on Omar’s computer.

What was the theme (s) of the interview?

Understand how Adult refugees learn Norwegian.

Why was the theme(s) chosen?

The themes were chosen because we wanted to get an insight in what issues there currently are in the situation of our topic. The person that was interviewed has an overview of how multiple people experience this situation and could be able to find an answer or suggestions to improvements for more people as his experience does not differ as much from personal experience as the students might be. We also wanted to know his thoughts on supplements to a Norwegian Language course, how they work, how they could be improve and how much of an impact these have in motivating and activating the learning process outside of class.

Transcription

Interview transcription (attachment)

Analysis and summary of findings with quotes

Learning Norwegian can be quite challenging. But it really depends on the person, and their background. Whether they have had the experience of learning another language, or not. Students who have learned another language have an advantage because they have the experience but also knows what methods and learning techniques they can use when learning Norwegian.

However, the young students seems to have an advantage. Bjerkan states that he believes the younger students learn faster. And he also states that it is easier for them to get to use the new language. Some of the older students seems to have more trouble getting into the new language and ends up helping each other in class, using their mother tongue.

But regardless of age, students have different challenges. For some, writing is easier. And for other, speaking is easier. Many of the students are also struggling with understanding the language as a whole as well.

Those students who already have experiences with the English language seem to have an advantage. They are more used to a similar language to Norwegian. Both English and Norwegian have several similar words in the wocabulary, and the grammar between the two is pretty similar.

In order for the students to learn more efficiently, they have to use the new language in their spare time as well. Using the new language with friends and family will have a big impact on the learning process.

A good thing to know is that most students generally succeed learning the new language. Bjerkan states that if the students happen to get a job, where they are engaged in using the new language, they will get more motivated to keep using and learning more of it as time passes.

Bjerkan says he’s satisfyed with most of his students. As long as they do their best, and work hard to achieve their goals, he is more than satisfyed.

Tools are also an important tool in the learning process of a new language. Bjerkan claims that these tools are very handy to use on your spare time, when you don’t really have anything else on your schedule anyway. It is a good way to spend some time, in order to improve the learning process. He highly recommends them to any student who are trying to learn a new language.

 

 

Cultural Probe

  • What is your design goal?
    The cultural probe is designed so that the information gathered will be immediate thoughts after a Conversation in Norwegian, and in the evening after the day is done. This will make the person using the probe reflect of his or hers Norwegian usage throughout the day, but also the first thoughts after the language is used.
  • Who are your users?
    Adult refugees in Norway who are currently learning the Norwegian Language.
  • What is the probe made of (artifacts & tasks?
    • Artifacts
      • Notebook
      • Pencil
      • Stickers
    • Tasks
      • During the day
        • After a conversation in Norwegian fill out how you felt you mastered it on a scale from 1-5.
        • Comment about what went well in the conversation or what you want to improve on.
      • In the evening
        • Write down their use of newly learned words or phrases.
        • Write down your favorite word you learned or used today.
        • Put on a yellow star sticker for x amount newly learned words.
        • Circle around «emoji’s» that represent how they generally felt while speaking Norwegian that day.
        • Write down a goal for the next day. If the goal for the day was completed put up an extra sticker
          Goal examples: Better expression, Learn more phrases \ words, engage in conversation in Norwegian.

  • How do you plan to follow-up your probe?
    Collect the probe in person (if possible) and thank them for doing the tasks.
    Ask them if they want to be informed about the findings off the data in the probe.
    If yes ask them how they prefer to be contacted.

 

There is no information gathered from this probe as the group i was in didn’t hand them over to anyone after i made and gave another group member the notebooks before i left the group to start working in a one man group.

 

Literature Review Summary

Main elements/characteristics of my information flow situation

When attempting to teach Norwegian to young-adult refugees, a good teacher is what most people would consider. But what if there was better and faster ways to teach a new language?

Studies have proven to us multiple times, that being engaged in physical tasks helps learning. This is because when we are active, our brain is working much harder. It’s also memorizing the things we see and experience, much better. In other words, it’s recommended that you change the way you learn, with being more physically active when trying to learn something.

Some teachers are well experienced with teaching, and knows what works and what doesn’t. However, only the best teachers know how to engage students into making the learning process more fun. That way, it will be more exciting for them, and they will often feel the motivation to work harder. This is because we like experiencing getting better at something we are trying to achieve.

When learning a new language, it’s important to use it as much as possible. And if you don’t have too much time to use it in your daily life, there are several apps like Duolingo which provides push notifications and reminders on your phone, to make sure you do your daily language exercises. Using it every single day, is one of the most efficient ways to learn a new language.

Challenges encountered in the information flow

The drop-out numbers for adult refugees may have several reasons. These are refugee adults, who possibly have children witch gives them a financial aspect.

Academic challenges like, cultural dissonance, language barriers, fear or distrust of authority figures, fear of speaking in class and lack of academic support at home may be some of the biggest, and most obvious challenges for an adult refugee learning norwegian.

cultural dissonance causes lack of interest in learning the norwegian language, it causes discomfort or confusion, by people in the midst of a change in their cultural environment. This is relevant for the people who come to norway as a refugee, because they come from countries with a different culture and different expectations set to them. This makes people uncomfortable, and may cause them to not want to be a part of that culture if they feel rejected.

Language barriers can be underestimated. for example if you are a norwegian student learning english, you have a lot of references to use. The student can use movies and TV-shows as a learning tool, and when you watch people speak english you get a better idea of how to form your sentences in english, appose to just learning the words translated. Learning how to form a sentence in a different language like norwegian can be a difficult task, if the refugee don’t have a norwegianspeaking reference to follow in terms of what you see, when a person is learning english, and has an endless supply of movies and TV-series.

The learners have financial obligations leading them to take part-time jobs, witch can prevent the learners from doing school work, and resting for the next school day. These part-time jobs are uselie due to children at home, and they dominate the learners sparetime.

What needs to be improved

First of all, Norwegian teachers should understand that their students come from many different backgrounds and ages, and not all of them are of equal learning abilities or have the determination to learn. Some of them want to learn the language as fast as possible so they could get to work or to continue studying. Others, just don’t care at all about the whole learning process or the outcome of the Norwegian course. The result of this is that those students who don’t care, don’t wish, or simply don’t want to make an effort to learn the language as effective as the others, will eventually, negatively affect them.

There is one simple solution to what should be done here. Students have to be sorted into the classes they deserve. For example, a class dedicated to hardworking and serious students, and another class for students who like to have fun and play most of the time.

Second, It would have been really nice and more helpful if the teachers were multilingual. Sometimes no matter how hard you try to explain a word to someone, it never makes sense until it is translated into their mother language, or a language they know well. It is not necessary, but it would make learning the language easier.

An overview of available digital tools and what problem each of them addresses.

Currently the best digital tools for learning norwegian according to norskbloggen.no and lifeinnorway.net is Memrise, Babbel, Nemo and Duolingo. How you access the guides differ, they all have free and paid models. These are all apps which can be used both on apps on a smartphone or a website on a computer, which make them easy to use on the go.

Memrise is an app that uses memorization and visual techniques as its learning component. Memrise is made to fit into a busy day as a supplement to a language course. It is meant for being used whenever you have a free moment in your day so you stay fresh on the language you are learning. This app also has a goal to make the learning experience feel more local as opposed to make you learn the language in a strict formal way.

Babbel also aims at making your conversational skills in the new language better. They try to be up to date with the current way of speaking to each other, this makes the learner speak more naturally. They also want you to speak correctly. Babbel also offer review sessions of words and sentences you have already learned, but in new contexts so that you can reinforce and refresh your memory of your knowledge.

Duolingo is one of the most known language apps on the market, it’s a good app with a whole bunch of languages available for learning, but most importantly; its free. Duolingo claims themselves that using their app is the best new way to learn a language. Its designed to be a fun and addicting experience, it also gives you immediate grading which is good compared to waiting for a grade to know what you have to improve on, wasting valuable learning time.

 

Babbel costs money after the first course and memrise works with a subscription fee. The one drawback is that duolingo is inherently free, but you can only do so much of a course before you have to wait, unless you want to pay for duolingo plus which removes ads.

All of the apps mentioned are best used as a supplement for language courses, as they are great at refreshing your pre acquired knowledge. But one big issue that they have been critiqued for is the lack of grammar learning. Grammar is especially important if you want to also learn how to write in the desired language. For example french and Norwegian grammar is very different, and a french speaking person might not know this and get a bad learning experience. But that does not mean you can’t learn grammar using these apps, it’s just not going to be as quick and short as their other lessons as some grammar can be quite complicated and need exercises both verbally and written for you to fully understand it.

All in all these apps are designed to be used for short periods of time when you find the time in an otherwise busy day.

 

Documentation of the literature search

Our chosen topic is to look at adult refugees coming to Norway and their process in learning the Norwegian language. When we searched for literature that could help us gather more information on this topic we set some goals and questions that we would like to find the information necessary to achieve or answer.
These goals and questions are:

  • Improve the process of learning norwegian when coming to norway as an adult refugee
  • How does it work today?
  • How can we make it better
  • How can we support current solutions

The keywords we used to search for literature are the following:

  • Language
  • Learning language
  • Learning Norwegian
  • Adult refugee
  • New to norway

With these questions and goals in mind, we searched for relevant literature for our topic. We did not limit ourselves to only scientific books and research reports but also allowed ourselves to look at newspaper articles as interviews with individuals in this situation will give good insight into how they feel in this situation. Google and Google scholar were used when searching for literature with our keywords.

The sources we selected are:

The reason we chose these as our sources:

is that they provide insights into our information flow topic from different perspectives. It doesn’t only look at the learning situation but also the differences in cultures, which is also a huge part of integrating into the society. One big point is also the social aspect which is proven to be one of the most effective and important parts to learn a new language.