In many ways, the MGH is a world of its own, with its own vocabulary and vernacular. For those learning English as another language, it can present an added layer of difficulty. To help employees improve their language skills and integrate more deeply into the MGH community, the Training and Workforce Development Office partners with JVS Boston to offer English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) classes. On April 12, ESOL students performed skits and conversations they had written before an audience of their classmates, teachers, managers and MGH colleagues.

“I’m feeling more confident now and I’ve learned a lot so far,” says Ioannis Papadakis, a Patient Care Associate in the Cardiac Surgical Step-Down Unit and member of the “Code Designation” performance group. Papadakis has worked at the MGH for five months and only started learning English three months before he moved to the United States from Greece. “These classes have given me a chance to practice speaking and build my vocabulary.”

Josefina Dominguez has worked at the MGH for 16 years in Accounts Receivable. After completing the highest level of ESOL classes offered through JVS, she now hopes to go back to school and get her degree. “This class has motivated me to apply to college,” she says. “Now I can do things more easily and it has refreshed my memory. I feel ready to learn more.”

One ESOL class conducted a R.A.C.E simulation that led the audience into the hallway while explaining the steps of the fire safety acronym – Rescue, Alarm, Confine, Extinguish/Evacuate – then led the group safely back into the conference room.

“We always say, ‘show me, don’t tell me,’” said Carlyene Prince- Erickson, director of Employee Education and Leadership Development. “Our ESOL students showed us how these classes help them deliver Excellence Every Day and bolster their confidence to teach others. Their success is what has kept this program going for 23 years.”

For more information about the hospital’s free, on-site ESOL classes or other offerings through the Workplace Education Program, visit the Ask myHR portal and select Learning and Development, or call the Workplace Education Program office at 617-726-2388.

This article was originally published in the 04/20/18 Hotline issue.