Trainee teacher, Lois, is making Welsh language accessible to all her students through her pioneering role as a Welsh Facilitator in Health and Social Care.
Lois Moremon from Caerphilly started delivering Health and Social Care lessons as part of her PGCE work placement with Coleg y Cymoedd, but quickly impressed tutors enough to take on a new Welsh Facilitator role, to promote bilingual teaching and learning within the department.
With dreams of helping local teenagers access opportunities to succeed in life, Lois enrolled on Coleg y Cymoedd’s Foundation Degree in Education and Development and took jobs as a Teaching Assistant at a Welsh-medium school and then at a children’s care home.
Quickly building rapport with the young people she worked with, Lois and her colleagues were devastated when the care home was closed and they were made redundant.
By then, Lois had already completed the college’s two-year ‘degree top-up’, so saw this as the ‘push’ she needed to enrol on the PcET course to become a certified teacher, teaching through the medium of Welsh.
Lois first approached the college’s Welsh Language Team to ask if they could facilitate her course’s teaching placement. By happy coincidence, they had secured a development grant from the Coleg Cymraeg Cenedlaethol to increase its bilingual offering in the Welsh Government’s priority areas – one of which was Health and Social Care – and Lois was the perfect choice.
As part of its Strategy to develop bilingual provision, Coleg y Cymoedd has appointed a Welsh Facilitator in each of the priority areas to support tutors’ bilingual delivery and Welsh-speaking learners with learning and submitting their work in Welsh.
The ethos of the Strategy is to create positive experiences in Welsh for learners and for them to develop their Welsh language skills, especially in the context of their vocational course.
Now, a year and a half into her position, Lois said: “My job as a Facilitator fits perfectly with my placement. It means I’m able to support students in more ways than one.”
“When I’m teaching, I’m able to offer a first-hand account of the processes and legislations in the world of Care, and then I can continue building positive relationships with students by also going into their tutorials to encourage their use of the Welsh language.”
“They quickly got used to seeing my face and I welcomed their interactions. I pride myself on being open and approachable, and happily and honestly answer any questions they have about working in the Care sector.”
“As a Facilitator, it’s like having double the opportunity to make an impact on students’ lives. I am giving them the tools to learn everything bilingually. I’m helping those who have only a basic understanding of Welsh by running through sentence structures, translating key words and practicing role-play scenarios, whilst also helping fluent Welsh speakers stretch themselves and their vocabulary, using words that they haven’t since they attended Welsh-medium school.”
Just six months away from qualifying as a teacher, Coleg Cymraeg Cenedlaethol has recognised Lois’ impact in their annual report, as the level of Welsh language used across the college’s Health and Social Care classes has increased dramatically since she was appointed. Her methods of employer engagement and her delivery model has been noted as good practice.
“Since I started in 2022, 100% of my students have improved their Welsh-language skills. I’m helping tutors make their course content bilingual, and am on hand in lessons to support them if they’re asked a question and are unsure of the correct Welsh phrase.”
“Whenever I teach, I deliver everything bilingually. The course has come so far from when it was English only a year ago and it would be great if this was rolled out across the board.”
Find out more about Coleg y Cymoedd’s Welsh language provision, here: https://www.cymoedd.ac.uk/learner-support/welsh-language/
Rhondda Cynon Taff