This paper discusses the process of undertaking an exploratory
longitudinal study of language learning and interpreter aptitude. It discusses
the context of aptitude testing, the test selection for a test battery, the
recruitment of subjects within the small-scale study (n=22) and the
administration of that battery within the context of whether longitudinal
studies are feasible with small cohorts of sign language interpreters. Sign
languages continue to be languages of limited diffusion in Europe. Even with
gradually increasing numbers of ‘hearing’ sign language users, typically those
wishing to become sign language interpreters do not have high levels of sign
language fluency prior to enrolling in sign language interpreter training. As
such, these students need to gain fluency in sign language, whilst also
beginning to engage in interpreter education and interpreting-skills
development. To date there is little understanding of how best to screen sign
language interpreter program applicants to ensure the effective use of
resources, i.e. to educate those who will both learn sign language to C1
fluency (Pro-signs, 2016) during the BA and also be able to learn how to
interpret. Longitudinal studies enable us to take a longer view of learning and
the professionalisation of skills and knowledge. They do, however, require
significant time and this in itself can prove to be an obstacle when university
researchers are required to produce tangible research outputs for career goals
such as promotion or tenure.
Undocumented migrant families experience high levels of food poverty, exclusion from mainstream benefits, and sometimes from social work services. This is an under-researched area for social work in the UK, and there is no statutory guidance for social workers on supporting undocumented migrants. Practitioner research is one way of ‘visibilising’ their experiences. Six migrant families accessing a voluntary sector stay and play project were interviewed using a practitioner research model of semi-structured interviews on the themes of food, access to services and children. The research found that families responded to their situation with a seemingly contradictory strategy of resignation and resilience. The implications for practitioners working with this user group are considered, and suggestions for support services for this group of families are offered.
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