Calgary Learns - newsletter
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November 12, 2015

Connecting our Adult Learning & Literacy Community


In This Issue

Mark Your Calendar

December Networking
December 2, 2015
2 - 4 PM at CNIB

Train the Mentor - info session
December 9, 2015, 2 - 4 PM
Location: TBA

IFL workshops
February 10 & 24, 2016


December Networking

December 2, 2015 - CALP Guidelines & Cracker Barrel Session

CALP Guidelines
Calgary Learns receives its granting funds from and operates within Guidelines set by Alberta Advanced Education. In July of 2015 these Guidelines changed. This will shift some of the ways Calgary Learns has to operate and will impact our granting process as well as the grantee reporting requirements. 

At our networking event on December 2, Terri Peters will provide a brief but engaging and interactive outline of the Guideline changes and what they mean to you and us. Please be ready to participate and bring your questions for Terri or Calgary Learns. Link to guidelines:

As many of you know, Terri is our regional support person for the Community Learning Network (CLN) and plays a key role in our Integrated Foundational Learning project. Terri has 20 years of experience as a facilitator and project manager in adult literacy, learning, and essential skills. For more information about Terri see 

Cracker Barrel Session
Come learn about some exciting new work your colleagues have been doing. Four recent Calgary Learns-funded initiatives have created new ways to engage adults in foundational learning. Join us to hear their stories, learn about their process and their results. See how these creative educators are welcoming young parents, persons with disabilities and urban Aboriginals into community-based learning.

There will also be information about the Train the Mentor initiative (see article below).

Date: December 2, 2015
Time: 2 to 4 PM
Location: CNIB, 15 Colonel Baker Pl NE, Calgary (map)

New Initiative: Train the Mentor

Would you like to share your knowledge and passion with other community adult learning organizations? Become a mentor with Calgary Learns! This is an exciting paid opportunity to grow as a professional.

Calgary Learns would like to sustain the Integrating Foundational Learning (IFL) project long-term by training past and current IFL participants to mentor other programs in the future. You have experience integrating foundational learning and are ideally suited to continue mentoring other Calgary Learns partners to do the same work. 

If you are interested in becoming a mentor, you would receive professional development and an honoraria for your involvement.  You would receive honoraria for:
  • 35 hours of training to become a mentor (which includes mentor meetings)
  • Up to 35 hours of mentoring per organization
You would need to be able to commit these 70 hours from January to December 2016.  You would also be required to attend the 2-day IFL training set for February 10 and 24, 2016.

IFL mentoring duties would include:
  • Helping organizations understand what foundational learning is
  • Helping agencies identify what foundational learning their clients need in order to take best advantage of their programming
  • Coaching program staff on how to integrate foundational learning into their programs
  • This could include assisting with:
    • Facilitation strategies for foundational learning
    • Plain language use in program and organizational documents
    • Evaluation strategies and techniques
  • Meeting regularly with the mentee organization, either by phone or in person
  • Reporting to Calgary Learns on your activities
  • Participating in an evaluation of the Train the Mentor initiative
Interested in becoming an IFL Mentor?  You will need to fill out an application form, available from Nicky Peeters. Calgary Learns will also host an information session about the Train the Mentor initiative on December 9 from 2 to 4 PM. Location: TBA. Click HERE to register.

For more information on past IFL projects, you can read the Final Reports by following this link:

Professional Development - IFL workshops are back!!

The Integrated Foundational Learning (IFL) program is for instructors and facilitators of adult learning. The program trains educators how to recognize and address the learning needs of participants who learn at a foundational level. 

February 10, 2016
  • AM: introduction to facilitation
  • PM: advanced facilitation
February 24, 2016
  • AM: plain language
  • PM: evaluation
Location: CNIB, 15 Colonel Baker Pl NE, Calgary
Registration: available after December 9

The cost for attending the workshops are $20 per workshop for members or $30 per workshop for non-members.
This IFL program is funded through the generous support of


LOLA nominations are now open

Do you admire someone who excels as an adult learner or adult educator?
Is there a learning program or project out there that deserve extra recognition?
How about an extra-ordinary funder?

Consider this opportunity to honour these hard working and enthusiastic people and send in your nomination form for a
Life Of Learning Award (LOLA)!

The LOLAs celebrate and honour the contributions and accomplishments in Calgary’s adult learning field. The LOLAs are presented to outstanding educators, programs, supporters and learners to recognize their dedication and spirit. They highlight the value of foundational learning and the differences education makes in our community.

Calgary Learns presents awards in the following categories:
  • Adult Learner for a learner at a foundational level who loves learning, stands out in his or her efforts to keep learning and inspires others by example.
  • Learning Champion for an educator/facilitator or program designer who makes a great contribution to community-based adult foundational learning and supports the essential skills development in learners.
  • Learning Communities for a learning program/project that stands out in innovation, effectiveness and breadth of reach into the adult foundational learning community.
  • Thanks A Bunch showcases a funder (individual or corporation) whose commitment and financial contribution help support the needs of adult foundational level learners.
Go to our website for more information and forms. Nomination deadline is February 14, 2016.

LOLA profile - Adult Learner

The 2015 LOLA winner in the Adult Learner category was Shala Quinn.

"Canada is my sun,” says Shala about the country that has become a home and place of dreams for her and her family. Shala, like many girls in the rest of the world, did not have the benefit of schooling. She became a child bride and mother in her early teens. In the early 90’s, Shala moved to Canada as a single mother with her children. She taught herself to speak, read and write English by watching television and listening to her children.

Shala first became a student at Bow Valley College in the Adult Basic Literacy Education program. In 2014, she enrolled in the Lifeline to Literacy program. Today, she is a fulltime student in ESL classes during the week and continues with her Lifeline to Literacy program two nights a week. In addition to taking classes day and night, Shala is always searching for part-time employment to support her family.

Shala’s achievements in Calgary are a remarkable testimonial to her belief in education as the key to her empowerment and her future. All of her teachers have spoken highly of her dedication to her studies, her positive attitude and her caring nature.

Despite her very busy schedule, Shala still finds time to volunteer with a number of non-profit agencies in her community. An inspiration to all those around her, one of Shala’s greatest successes is as a shining role model for her children. Her daughter says, “My mother is the perfect example of someone who loves to learn. She reminds us always of the importance of learning and how we can achieve greatness through learning.”

Program Visits

Many of you know we regularly visit classes in our Calgary Learns-funded programs. We just completed our 2015 visits. Nancy, Jeannie, Nicky and Monique all took part and, on occasion, a board members came along, too - here’s a quick report. 

By the numbers, we visited 27 classes with a total of 167 adult learners. We spoke with over 30 program staff and interviewed 28 learners in small-group learning all across Calgary. We saw lots of variety: talking circles, learners working in pairs, learners demonstrating their skills at the front of the room. We sometimes joined in the activities or helped a participant with a task. During class breaks, we spoke one-on-one with learners and instructors.

Overwhelmingly, the learners we talked to expressed enthusiasm for their classes and pride in their new skills.  Many spoke of new community connections through coming to know their teachers and classmates. Learners told us about their personal learning goals and with glowing smiles they told us how hard they were working to reach them. 

Instructors talked about being humbled and inspired by their learners’ energy and desire for learning, and their “…joy in the accomplishment on students’ faces.”

Instructors also shared challenges. Some are juggling widely diverse classrooms with some participants learning quickly while others struggle to keep up. Some instructors spoke of modifying curricula on the fly to make a class work for everyone. Staff also described helping learners find the external resources they needed in order to keep coming to class and their own sorrow when difficulties were too great and a learner left.

At Calgary Learns we know teaching adult learners is both complex and rewarding. Seeing foundational adult learning in action helps us support and celebrate this profoundly important work in Calgary. Thank you to all who made our visits possible! We are grateful.

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