Frontier College
Organization profile published 1978
Year Published:  1978
Resource Type:  Organization
Cx Number:  CX770

Connexions has published numerous abstracts on Frontier College.

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This abstract was published in Connexions Digest in 1978:

In 1899 Frontier College was established to respond to adult and community education needs on Canada's frontier.Today F.C. defines that frontier mainly in terms of rural poverty. They point out that poverty in Canada is concentrated in non- urban areas. For instance 11% of urban families fall below the low- income cutoff line but 41 of rural families are below this line .Thus as many as one hundred F.C. field workers initiate community education and development programs throughout Canada's northern and remote communities each year. Men and women are placed in communities which can make use of their skills and experiences- often in native communities, isolated workcamps and recently in corrections.Fieldworkers remain in these communities for a minimum of eight months (shorter placements in summer) to help promote the transfer of skills. There is no established curriculum. The program content is flexible because priorities are determined by local participants. Adult education, social animation, and community development frequently form the basis for these programs. A small package from F.C. has a number of leaflets which outline the various activities of the labourer- teacher, community education fieldworkers and the role of animation. Examples of current placementes and the application of these methods in various F.C. placements are given.

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This abstract, published in Connexions Digest in 1980, details programs offered by Frontier College:

A. Injured Workers Program, c/o Rafael Ramirexz. Several years ago, Frontier College discovered that 55% of injured workers undergoing rehabilitation at the government centre in Toronto are illiterate. Rafael works three evenings a week in a program designed to assist those workers who are interested in improving their ability to read and write or in general upgrading. The goal is to support their progress in their jobs with a personalized service. While they are at the Centre, Rafael can get them started. However, many of them come from other centres or small villages throughout Ontario. Thus provision of follow-up becomes crucial. In places where there are Frontier College personnel present the task of assuring on-going support is relatively easy. In other cases local volunteer assistance is sought from residents in the area where workers lives. The program relies heavily on the conviction that it is not necessary to have specialized teacher training in order to help someone to learn. Learning will happen, Rafael believes, if the "teacher", a neighbour or fellow-worker, is able to read and write and, most importantly, has the trust of the student and respects the integrity of the student. Rafael points out that these informal settings have been proven equally or more effective than classroom programs with professional teachers and textual aids. He insists that learning to read a chainsaw manual or a tax return guide is often more effective than the expensive texts prepared by publishing companies.

B. Learning and Teaching with Common Sense. By Dr. Marsha Forest
Free and may be reproduced. This booklet is designed to show parents, teachers, workers, and friends simply and contretely how something can be done for the five milliion Canadian adults who have less than a grade nine education, and to do so without years of training or large expenditures of money.

In a few pages it offers simple pointers based on stated assumptions and research finding about learning. The key assumptions are that people enjoy learning and will seek responsibility. The research finding suggest that alternative ways of learning are as good or better than the "traditional"; that teaching others is an effective reinforcement to learning; and that motivation is the key to learning.

Dr. Forest also offers some questions that the potential "teacher" might ask of her/himself such as: "Do I want to teach?" "Do I enjoy learning and reading?" "When did I last write a poem or a letter?" She also gives strong encouragement to learn as much as possible about everything to do with the life of the students.

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This abstract was published in Connexions Digest in 1982:

Frontier College, established in 1899, recognizes that many Canadians have had little opportunity to pursue an education. Within the Canadian context one of the main reasons for this is the lack of learning resources available to communities in northern and remote regions.

Frontier College attempts to compensate for this deficiency by co-ordinating the sending of volunteers to these regions. These volunteers act as learning resource people, using their skills and imparting them to the people they serve. At the same time there is an effort to bring learning tools and materials into the communities. The College attempts to match the needs of the people they serve by sending field-workers with skills appropriate to the needs expressed.

College placements participate in one of two models. The original model used and still in practice is the labourer-teacher model. In this model, the resource person holds a full-time job in a local industry (usually in a primary or construction industry). Through conversation with fellow employees during the working day, the labourer-teacher discovers the workers' educational concerns. In the off work hours, the placement designs programmes to meet these concerns, relying on aids supplied by government and service agencies.

The other model practised is that of the 'contract field-worker,' who works for and with local community organizations. Local people and the placement together identify needs and goals. Projects common to this model are adult education, economic development, local leadership and community organizing. Again, College field-workers' skills are matched to the needs expressed by participating communities. As a College brochure states, "the programmes attempt to leave the people with the abilities, self-confidence and the sense of worth necessary to take effective control of their own lives."
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