Monday, November 5, 2007

places to learn

Good morning – JUST!

So glad that you could join us for this rather late breakfast. Brunch on a Monday? Luxury!

"So there need to be places to learn. ..."

"I was following your argument right up to the places to learn part, and then I started to drift... yeah... places to learn, I thought. Just like we have hockey rinks and playgrounds and walking trails and libraries and swimming pools and tourist information centres and ... why don't we just Have places to learn?

(The answer to why is in the second part of your comments, of course.)"

Okay we know why. But what about what?
There are lots of allusions (illusions?)
to what these places would be like in the forum.

What would those places look like?

Would they be in stand-alone sites, or in libraries, or in multi-service agencies?

Would there be lots of books and lots of nutritious food and lots of quality daycare and lots of quiet places to study?

Would there be standardized tests?
performance based assessment?
competency based assessment?

Would everything be accessible to multiple points of entry?
Would they be organized horizontally or vertically?
Would learners ideas and experience be a part of
program planning and delivery?
Would everything be accessible to people with disabilities?

Would there be any stigma attached to coming to the literacy program?

Would there be any volunteers? What would they be doing?

Would the ‘teachers’ be accredited? certified? certifiable?
Would the ‘teachers’ be doing admin work? dishes? intake?
Would most of the teachers be women? white? middle-aged?

What do we dream of? What do we want to maintain and sustain?
What do we want to try?

You don't have to address the whole range of elements, but let us know what dreams and plans and environments give you energy.

P.S. Check out our new poll question -->


  1. Oh wow, thank you for those questions. I got so many WHOOSHES as I'se reading them - and whereas a big part of MY job is to support, inspire the people I coordinate and the families they work with - I realized how much I need that as well: I need to be inspired, nourished and reminded to have dreams. SO the simple idea of a learning place just makes my head and heart swell. The learning place I envision would be itinerant, would GO to where people are - and one of the tools I'd need is a wheeled cart that folds out, accordions out with tons of drawers and containers full of non-traditional art materials, writing materials, supplies that enourage PLAY - a mobile zipper wkshp even. And the people who are teaching, instructing would be from all sorts of backgrounds, education levels, ethnicities - they would speak the language(s) of the communities, they would be open to learning themselves and they would be PAID in some form (money is not the only currency). The learning place would be embedded (and have sustainable funding) within schools, community organizations, and have a presence at events, festivals etc so that "learning" and PLAY become more entwined. Oh I love dreaming of this - thank you!

  2. I've been thinking too about this "places to learn" idea.

    I think the ideal job for me in literacy would be to not work in literacy directly full time, rather work in another field, but have an agreement at my workplace that part of my job, a good part of it, would be to provide literacy support or learning support to other employees who need/want help either in the context of their actual job or in the context of gaining better teamwork skills, or communication skills, workplace rights assertiveness skills, participating in their union skills, etc.

    Here's where I draw from for this:

    The Frontier College Labourer-Teacher program appeals to me (not the lack of pay part) - but the fact that you work in a job, and there is time portioned out for literacy teaching or learning interactions.

    Project Work in Toronto had/has an interesting model where a job coach is hired as well as an employee who had significant need for support to be able to learn the job, and the job coach's work is to provide the teaching, modeling, etc. for the employee so they can eventually do the job independently. The job coach part isn't exactly what I am getting at, but the working and teaching within the context of what the person needs and wants and the acknowledgement and payment for that as being valid and valued is what I like.

    I worked for two summers while at university in a factory doing piecework making truck seat springs. Me and the machine for 7 hours, baby! Churning out those bent metal rods! In many, many ways I really liked that job - it freed my mind while my hands were busy. What would have made it ideal however, would have been to have had time allocated to me and some of the other workers there to do literacy work - read and discuss safety posters and manuals, discuss the math of piecework (it was interesting to figure out how many bent rods were needed per hour to get the highest rate of return on pay, without producing more that didn't pay anymore), etc. I met many co-workers there for whom English was a second language and who hadn't gone too far in school. Being a literacy and language facilitator there, while also working part of a shift online would appeal to me.

    I agree with you Bonnie, to go where people are. Maybe there could be something like a literacy mobile that would come around and bring resources monthly so we wouldn't need a ton of storage space for things.

    Maybe the company computers could be used for learning - you know when the staff are at lunch then their computers and desks become a learning place for others.

    I guess I would like to find balance within a workplace for the literacy practitioner part of me and the application of my skills and knowledge in another area. Maybe job share - say make truck seat springs half time and provide learning support half time - while someone else who wants part/time work does the other half of the truck springs part - or better yet, two literacy practitioners job share one job and get to do both!

    It doesn't have to be factory truck springs work - anything that pays a decent wage and enables the learning support skills to be valued.

    That's my ideal learning place.