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LIELA – Key to Integration

LIELA Course for Refugees Will Start in Berlin

June 09th, 2016

In September, LIELA, an acronym for Liechtenstein Languages, will come to Berlin. With a goal to make language policy a part of peace policy, LIELA is a teaching method created in Liechtenstein and it focuses on teaching German as a foreign language to refugees while taking in to consideration their specific situation. His excellency, Ambassador of Lichtenstein Prinz Stephan of Liechtenstein to Germany participated in this project from the beginning and he was one of the founding fathers.

The initiative has been supported by strong moral and financial commitment from the Liechtenstein’s government, including the head of state Prinz Hans-Adam II. Liechtenstein has spent 20 years developing this initiative, and is now beginning to experience some success for example in the refugee shelters located in Essen and Munich. The ambassador, Prinz Stephan hopes that the initiative will create a “snowball effect” because the course can be taught by volunteer teachers.

The courses reduces and eliminates the various fears and barriers experienced by refugees who come from different backgrounds. What works well in primary schools is that refugees are obtaining the basics of German and soon have the ability to speak a new language in 4 to 6 weeks. This is the reason why unusual practices, such as dynamic exchange, role playing, drawing, pantomime, and relaxation are common during the classes. The key methods of learning are mind mapping, acceleration learning, total physical response and non-violent communication. Another positive aspect of this kind of learning is the emphasis placed on oral and audio understanding, as some of the participants can only read Arabic writing. The language method does not only concentrate on learning just a language, it also benefits building bridges, culture and collaboration between participants.

Acquiring language skills results in better self-confidence, which is why grammar is not on the focus instead having fun together and laughing is a primary goal of the initiative. For refugees, knowing the German language is also the key to integration in the professional sphere and it improves their chances in the labor market.


News from Berlin
Bettina Kovács and Aira Lukka, Berlin Global