This integration of literacy and mathematics training serves several purposes. First, by teaching basic skills within the context of technical course content, students can understand the functional utility of reading and mathematic concepts. Hence, they are motivated to increase both their technical skills and their literacy and math skills. Just as technical topics are connected with something students already know about. Second, the presentation of technical and basic skills instruction together eliminates the need for remedial courses students might need to take before receiving technical instruction. Combining the two types of training shortens total training time. This is of special importance for out of school youth and adults because it permits them to move out into the labor market sooner, and it gives learners less time to get frustrated and drop out of training (Sticht, T. Functionnal Context Education; Making learning relevant; one-day workshop with Dr. Tom Sticht, San Diego Consortium for Workforce Education and Lifelong Learning, Montreal, September 26, 1997.)
As mentioned in a previous post, we will have a guest speaker at our upcoming ANSCLO meetng on January 15. Donald Lurette has been working with Ghislaine D’eon and Equipe on an integrated skills project in the Argyle community. Mr. Lurette is currently working as an adult education consultant and has projects throughout the country. Previously he worked for 20 years leading a community literacy organization in the largely Francophone community of Hawksbury, Ontario, and it was here that he had some success convincing the college system to allow learners without a grade 12 or GED to commence their technical training while they worked on basic skills. This is particularly intertesting to me, and it is my understanding that the Skills and Learning Branch has started thinking about piloting a similar inititative in Nova Scotia.
In one of Mr. Lurette’s recent papers he quotes Thomas Sticht speaking about a college level electronics course that used this same integrated skills model:
Mr. Lurette also worked on setting up a single entry point for services in his home communty, which brought employment service providers and literacy programming together in a more integrated fashion. In Lurette’s words:
The emergence of integrated programs for people with low literacy skills is a particularly powerful way for organizations that deliver literacy programs to develop new expertise with partners, to receive the recognition needed to fulfill their mandate, and to strengthen their place in their community. The model being proposed here allows these organizations to position themselves as both organizations complementary to other public services and as essential partners for reaching a clientele with low literacy skills
Ghislaine is meeting with Donald next week and asked if he would be willing to come to our meeting and talk about his work. I am very pleased that he has agreed to come.
The meeting will begin at 12pm, so if you want to have dinner at the Red Fox Tavern before that time, please come a little earlier.