Barriers to learning

It is amazing how we humans manage to create structures and rules that acutally inhibit people from achieving the results intended.

In Canada, you can get free English courses as well as free English testing, payed for by the tax-payer, as long as

1) you are a refugee or landed immigrant or

2) you are unemployed or

3) Your English is so poor that you are unable to even do your shopping in English

If you are well educated, already a citizen (it takes three years to acquire citizenship), employed at a low wage job, speak some English but not enough to work as a professional and would like to improve in order to get a better job, you get no help from the government.

There are companies that offer tuition reimbursement for their employees who want to study, whether job related or for personal improvement. However, the employee must study a recognized course, get a certificate and and pass a test. But what do these tests really mean. There are other ways to measure whether the employee is learning. Tests measure your ability to write tests and possibly what you have learned, not necessarily what you can do!

Many companies rely on tests like TOEIC and TOEFL only to find out that they are not useful guides to how well a person can communicate in English.

They only test of people’s ability to communicate in a second language is to sit them down and talk to them; to give them writing assignments or oral exam questions for them to reply to; and then to analyze the results.

Meanwhile people are not provided with financial assistance in their studies if they do not meet rules and constraints put in place by the bureaucrats of education, whether in companies, educational institutions or government.

I once approached a Canadian government official in charge of providing language courses to bureaucrats to offer a pilot on The Linguist system. The answer was “we have had the same system for 40 years, if you think we are going to change you have another thing coming.”

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