As part of the 2017/2018 and 2018/2019 Multicultural Grants Program, Cancer Council Victoria supported Preston and Reservoir Adult Community Education (PRACE) to design, produce, test and disseminate an educational manual on bowel and breast cancer screening targeting Adult Migrant Education Program (AMEP) students.
Language is a key barrier for newly arrived migrants to obtain health information about cancer. AMEP provides up to 510 hours of English language tuition to help them learn foundational English language and settlement skills to enable them to participate socially and economically in Australian society.
PRACE being a provider of AMEP, provided a great opportunity to incorporate educational messages about bowel and breast cancer screening in the curriculum and share those messages with other providers of the program.
Who was involved?
In the design process, three PRACE staff members were involved and 11 teachers were included as secondary target as they were involved in the testing process of the training materials.
- Phase one: 55 students participated in the testing and trial of the bowel and breast cancer English Adult Language (EAL) classes from four different community language organisations.
- Phase two: At least 584 students had participated in EAL classes organised by 8 organisations.
- Specialised cancer screening training materials mapped to the AMEP EAL program were produced, trialled and delivered to improve health literacy among the new migrant and refugee population.
- The newly produced bowel/ breast training materials were shared with 28 adult English class providers in order to support EAL educators in delivering this content to their students.
- More than 600 newly arriving AMEP students gained knowledge and awareness about bowel and breast cancer through their English classes.
- Bowel/ breast cancer and the newly produced training materials were promoted at the 2019 VALBEC conference (Victorian Adult Literacy and Basic Education Council), Adult Community Education (ACE) and English as an Additional Language (EAL) network meetings. The initiative was heavily promoted through various adult education social media platforms and websites.
- 28 Adult Education organisations registered interest in utilising the training modules in the first 10 months. Eight of these organisations had actually started using the modules in 2019 to support 584 AMEP students.
- Southern Metropolitan TAFE in Western Australia had registered interest in utilising the training materials and used them to raise the knowledge of five of their AMEP students on the two cancer types.
What worked well?
Partnering with a well-known adult education community organisation to launch this initiative worked very well. PRACE provided the technical education expertise to design, test and incorporate the bowel/breast cancer modules within the English classes of the AMEP program.
PRACE has the experience and understanding of their newly arriving AMEP students and cultural barriers that might affect their awareness. PRACE has strong links and networks with the multicultural groups in the northern parts of Melbourne and with the Adult Literacy organisations and networks all over Victoria.
There were two surveys designed to evaluate the bowel and breast cancer screening training modules. The first survey targeted AMEP teachers and the other one targeted AMEP students. This initiative has proven to be cost-efficient, resulting in a long-term, sustainable impact since the modules are now promoted at PRACE and other Adult Community Education networks and organisations’ websites. Many AMEP providers are still continuing to promote these messages as part their English classes.