The following blog was written by Charlotte Beaubier and Ruby Hamm, faculty members at the School of Global Access.
What is the Youth in Transition (YIT) program?
The Youth in Transition program is a LINC based program for immigrant and refugee youth aged 18 to 25 years. These learners have received at least ten years of education in their home countries and need to have a minimum of a Canadian Language Benchmark (CLB) 3 in listening and speaking to be accepted into the program. There are six class levels ranging from a foundation class to an English for Academic Purposes class.
What makes it different from traditional ELL or LINC programs?
Our mandate is different from many other ELL programs. While settlement issues are addressed, the majority of our learners have higher education as a primary goal. Therefore, our program has been designed to focus on academic skills and college readiness as well as benchmark outcomes.
Another unique focus of our program is digital literacy. We have a laptop loan program that allows our learners full use of a laptop while they are in YIT. They bring it to class every day where they learn how to work with different software such as Microsoft Word, PowerPoint, Excel, Prezi and photo story to name a few. They are also expected to use Brightspace for their homework and classroom communications.
Project-based learning is another focal point for YiT. The students complete two major multi-disciplinary projects each trimester as part of their graded assignments. These projects blend digital literacy outcomes with language learning outcomes. The projects also generate several PBLA artifacts that can be used towards setting their benchmarks.
How has the YIT program changed since it was created?
The program has grown significantly. At its inception, there were two multileveled classes and now we have eight classes at different levels. A more recent change is that we now, in addition to the CLBs, have a marks based system similar to what they will experience in EAP, high school upgrading, or college career courses. Our learners are required to achieve an overall average of 70% to be able to move on the next level. Although there have been changes to the program, it remains true to the goal of encouraging young newcomers to Canada in their pursuits of further education as they work at developing a mastery of the English language.