including hands-on report and interview with Claudia Feger, head of the project “SensiBer” by the association “beramí berufliche Integration e.V.”
The project “SensiBer – language-sensitive counselling” by the association “beramí berufliche Integration e.V.” in the IQ regional network Hesse qualified employees of the job centre in Frankfurt for a language-sensitive design of the counselling process. On a daily basis, counsellors conduct several counselling sessions, in which they have to instruct clients on complex technical issues, procedures and legal requirements. The amount of information frequently overwhelms clients, especially when they speak German as a foreign or second language. This leads to irritation, misunderstandings and repeated counselling visits. The necessary explanations are often time-consuming for the job centre employees and exhausting for both sides.
Implementation of the tool
The aim of the workshop was to develop materials and strategies for language-sensitive and thus more accessible counselling. In order to base the workshops on real existing needs, the project staff shadowed the work of various job centre departments in advance. The idea of developing the explanatory cards originated as part of the training. The biggest challenge was to reduce the complex legal requirements and the extensive knowledge of the counsellors at the job centre to the most important core messages - without loss of legal precision. It was important to consistently balance professionalism and clarity of the explanatory cards. Several smaller topics are usually included in a counselling situation: these were visualised and recorded in an explanatory card set. In a team effort, recurring themes that often lead to problems of understanding were collected.
The prototypes were examined in regards to their professional content by the workshops and their applicability was tested. In the corresponding explanatory cards, the complex counselling contents are prepared with small steps and are easily formulated, complete and free of redundancy. The cards serve as support in the counselling session, for example to discuss matters such as residence relocation, measures for application training or integration courses, but also in the explanation of possible sanctions. Together with the explanatory cards, checklists were developed, which are handed to the clients and constitute a valuable aid for them. The core information of the counselling session is listed concisely on the checklists as well as on the explanatory cards, e.g. the individual steps or expected documents in the order in which they need to be performed or submitted.
The core information in the explanatory cards is formulated in simple terms and always visible to clients of the job centre. Counsellors can answer questions more easily by utilising the cards. The system of individual cards makes it easy to remove, adjust or add explanatory cards as needed.
Addressees for transfer:
Explanatory cards are an assistive tool which was developed for counselling in job centres. They help to convey complex information gradually by means of visualisation, thus making this information more comprehensible and understandable. Explanatory cards have a dual function: they help counsellors to guide the conversation and to offer simple and clear formulations, thereby improving the clients' understanding. They are particularly suited for structuring standard communicative situations in everyday counselling. So far, there are six explanatory card sets on “residence relocation”, “arrival”, “integration course”, “job application training” and “sanctions”.
Addressees for transfer:
Counsellors in job centres
SensiBer – speech-sensitive consulting, Network IQ Hesse
beramí berufliche Integration e.V.
Claudia Feger, Burgstraße 106, 60389 Frankfurt, Ph.: +49 (0)69 / 91301022, feger(at)berami.de