Thursday, September 16, 2010

Get on with life (litercy education project for Natives).

Jeopardy, originally uploaded by 1400woodcreek.
ShopPBS.OrgSubscribe to USA TODAY.

ArabicChinese (Simplified)Chinese (Traditional)DeutchEspanolFrenchItalianJapaneseKoreanPortugueseRussian USA, LLC


Imagine picking up this newspaper just to try to fool your friends. Sure, you can scan through the pages looking at only the pictures, but the truth is, you can't read.

Other tasks involving reading that many people take for granted include filling out forms for a job application or school enrollment or government documents. You end up taking the forms home to get someone else to help you, someone you can trust your secret with. Your life is a sham.

The Calgary Alberta Vocational College, in conjunction with Treaty 7 Economic Development Corporation and Metis Human Resources Development Canada, is trying to reduce this all too common problem. The organizations have created a basic literary program and adult upgrading course with an emphasis on employment.

The two programs, the Aboriginal Bridge Program and the Aboriginal Upgrading and Pre-Employment Program, offer people the opportunity to upgrade their learning to find employment and to better their literacy skills to make continuing education more attainable.

Students study at their own pace in an atmosphere with a strong cultural focus. Students agree that this environment constitutes better learning.

Russell Wasacase is a Cree student in the new program who returned to the classroom to better himself and to walk the talk with his four children. He realized that if he wanted his children to stay in school he had to set the example.

Before enrolling in the new program, the 43-year-old had only a Grade 5 education. He said he hid behind his busy life as an excuse for not furthering his education.

"I had to pay rent and the bills, so I took small jobs," he said. "I had a strong back and a weak mind."

Since enrolling in the upgrading and pre-employment program, his confidence level, listening skills, and life skills all exceeded his expectations.

"I was very nervous about coming back to school. Some of my friends and family thought I was crazy. But if it wasn't for this school, I wouldn't be able to speak openly like I do now," he said.

With help from the resident career advisor and also through job shadowing, Wasacase has decided that welding, for the time being, would be a good career.

Achieving Grade 12 is not the focus of the program, employment is, said Linda Drinnan an instructor with the program.

"For the most part, the students want to become self-sufficient. Therefore, if the student can gain employment in their area of interest to them and the job only requires a Grade 10 education, then why waste their time?" asked Drinnan.

Drinnan has been teaching the program from the Calgary vocational college's Marlborough Mall Aboriginal Campus. One of the challenges she faces is the personalized teaching style required of her job. Since the students study at their own pace, Drinnan is like the one-room school teacher of days gone by, teaching students from Grade 9 to 12. As the students' needs change, so must the teacher, but she's not complaining. She truly loves her work.

"The most challenging part of my job is also the most rewarding, and that is getting the students to believe in themselves," she said.

Barriers that kept students from attending school in the past are varied. Some of the older students remember the problems they had with the residential school system. For others it was substance abuse, lack of child care or transportation problems. The fact remains: they have overcome these obstacles and are on their way to a healthier, more confident way of living.

Source Citation
Blain, Crystal. "Get on with life (litercy education project for Natives)." Windspeaker Jan. 1998: 32. Academic OneFile. Web. 16 Sept. 2010.
Document URL

Gale Document Number:A30440902
ArabicChinese (Simplified)Chinese (Traditional)DeutchEspanolFrenchItalianJapaneseKoreanPortugueseRussian
Personalized MY M&M'S® Candies(Web-Page) off Bestsellers at
(Album / Profile) the Official Coca-Cola Store!

No comments: