Series: Connecting Literacy to Community
Authors: Bill Holbrow
The research project described in this document was part of the first phase of a larger initiative entitled “Connecting Literacy to Community” (CLC), undertaken by Bow Valley College in Alberta.
This project investigated the literacy assets and barriers of 10 community agencies in three urban and three rural Alberta communities. The project helped agencies to identify specific literacy barriers, and to begin to either minimize or remove those barriers.
A literacy specialist was assigned to each of the communities. The specialists acted as catalysts for literacy awareness; identified, investigated, and assessed literacy assets and barriers; and consulted on improving print materials or verbal communications.
The first step was to identify literacy assets and barriers in each agency, and develop an action plan with specific goals and objectives to resolve those barriers. The second step involved follow-up activities intended to examine the changes that had taken place in each agency since the first stage.
Since 1996, communities in the Canadian Columbia Basin of British Columbia (East and West Kootenay Regions, Valemount, and Revelstoke) have been planning, developing, and delivering family literacy programs with encouragement and widespread support. During those years, a total of seventeen communities have agreed to work together and to support each other.
This manual relates the story of the development of family literacy programs and the Columbia Basin Alliance for Literacy. It provides an example of community and program development that may be useful to other communities wishing to build cooperative movements around specific community issues.
Canadian Results of the International Adult Literacy and Skills Survey
This report presents the results of the 2003 International Adult Literacy and Skills Survey (IALSS) that measured the proficiencies in literacy, numeracy and problem solving of the Canadian population. It shows the skills distributions of the population of each of the ten provinces and three territories and of specific subpopulations, such as immigrants, Aboriginal peoples and minority language groups.
The report also analyses the relationships between socio-demographic characteristics, such as age, education, type of work and income, and performance in literacy, numeracy and problem solving.
Lessons in Learning – March 20, 2008
Series: Lessons in Learning
Authors: Canadian Council on Learning (CCL)
Bullying in schools can cause serious and lasting harm to both the victim and the perpetrator, and has been linked to such problems as substance abuse, aggression, and social withdrawal.
The authors of this document examine research about the effectiveness of intervention programs in ending bullying.
Their analysis suggests that intervention programs that utilize a whole-school approach often produce significant reductions in rates of bullying and victimization. To be effective, bullying prevention programs must be integrated into the school culture, with the entire school community committed to the creation of a safe environment in which to learn and grow.
Programs administered at the classroom level and those with a single focus – such as conflict resolution skills, peer mediation strategies, or social skills development – appear to be largely ineffective. Researchers argue that these types of interventions fail, in part, because bullying is a complex socio-cultural phenomenon that relies on power imbalances, rather than a social skills deficit on the part of the bully.
Authors: Canadian Chamber of Commerce
This document, published by the Canadian Chamber of Commerce, argues that Canada’s collective economic well-being and international competitiveness could hinge on the adoption of public policies that promote the economic development of many of the country’s remote communities.
Many of those communities are difficult to reach and have challenging geographies, harsh climates, limited infrastructure, and sparse populations. At the same time, they are also home to vast natural resources that are in demand around the world.
If all Canadians are to fully benefit from the potential of these communities, the federal government must take the lead in developing a long-term strategy for their development.
The business case for private-sector involvement in such development depends on the availability of a skilled workforce and strong infrastructure, including transportation links and broadband telecommunications. Those needs must be considered in the development of government policy in this area.
The authors point to a special role for Aboriginal people in the development of remote communities, where many of them live. The Aboriginal population is relatively young and quickly growing, in comparison with the population as a whole, and could provide a solution to projected labour shortages.
The Canadian Chamber of Commerce is a network of more than 420 chambers of commerce and boards of trade, representing 192,000 businesses of all sizes in all sectors of the economy and in all regions of the country.
Rationale and Core Principles for the Development of Health Literacy Curricula
This document grew out of a three-day institute held in Calgary, Alberta, in October 2008, which brought together participants from Canada, the United States, and the United Kingdom.
Participants agreed on the need to identify core principles for developing and adapting health literacy curricula. This document formally establishes those principles and urges anyone involved in developing or evaluating health literacy curricula to incorporate them.
The authors define health literacy as encompassing the use of a wide range of skills that improve the ability of people to act on information in order to live healthier lives. These skills include reading, writing, listening, speaking, numeracy, critical analysis, and interaction skills.
The authors note that health literacy applies to both individuals and to health systems, explaining that a system is health literate when it provides equal, easy and shame-free access to and delivery of health care and health information.
The authors have provided this link for anyone interested in becoming a signatory to the charter: http://www.centreforliteracy.qc.ca/health_literacy/calgary_charter.
First Canadian Conference on Literacy and Health
In partnership with 26 national health associations, the Canadian Public Health Association raises awareness about the links between literacy and health among health professionals. Specifically, over the past nine years, CPHA's National Literacy and Health Program (NLHP) has promoted plain language health information and clear verbal communication in the health profession throughout Canada.
The NLHP has undertaken numerous projects in the following are as:
• seniors' prescription medication use
• access to health services and health information
• poor health communication and its impact on patients' informed consent and health professional liability
• hard-to-use forms that undermine the independence and wellbeing of low-literacy health consumers
• health among low-literacy youth
Authors: Jennifer Robson
This report was commissioned by the Canadian Centre for Financial Literacy (CCFL), a division of Social and Enterprise Development innovations (SEDI), to assess what is known about the impact of financial literacy programs for vulnerable Canadians and to determine future directions for research, policy, and practice.
All Canadians, regardless of their income level, need to be financially literate, the author notes. Mainstream financial information, tools, and advice are useful for middle or higher income Canadians, but are often less so for low-income Canadians and can even be detrimental.
Community financial literacy programs, therefore, play a crucial role in adapting basic financial advice so that it responds more directly to the real lives and needs of vulnerable Canadians.
At the same time, the author cautions that financial literacy is not a cure-all and should not be seen as an alternative to effective regulation, adequate financial resources, and other public policies to promote social and economic inclusion and well-being.
Women's Education des femmes, Spring 1994 • vol.11 no.1
Authors: Dorothy Mackeracher
In this article, the author describes the Community Academic Services Program (CASP), a community-based literacy program in New Brunswick. Also discussed in the article is the author's view on the positive and negative aspects of the program.
The article is presented in English with a summary in French.
Authors: Ellyn Lyle
Cavendish Farms on Prince Edward Island is contributing to the development of an educated and competent workforce. Its Learning Centre in New Annan is proud of its ongoing commitment to improving employee education. Its mandate to provide a learner-centred environment with individualized instruction has remained the central core and helps shape the evolving programs. Although the centre was originally designed to facilitate G.E.D. completion, it has grown remarkably. Now offering adult basic literacy, G.E.D., secondary English, mathematics, biology, history, post-secondary refreshers, computer literacy, creative and professional writing, post-secondary facilitation, and assistance with professional licensing, the Learning Centre continues to listen to employees and rises to the challenge of meeting their unique needs.