Don't agree to a partnership unless you feel comfortable with the public education facility's ability to be responsive to the values and needs of your members.
A worker-centred learning environment empowers people and builds on what they already know. The process must always maintain the workers' dignity and build their feelings of self-worth. The selection and training of peer or co-worker instructors must be guided by the goal of creating a supportive learning environment. We are not training teachers, we are training workers to facilitate the learning of their fellow workers.
"I've gotten to know more about the people I work with. Not only about their personal lives but also about different countries and cultures. It's so exciting to learn all this stuff"Program Participant
Participants must never feel stigmatized about their participation. They should never feel that they are going to be seen in a negative light. It is important to foster a positive attitude toward learning in the workplace so that it becomes a venture to be encouraged.
The learning environment must also support cultural, racial, and ethnic diversity. The program must provide safe opportunities to bring varied perspectives and experiences into the classroom.
Make sure prospective instructors understand that the selection is not based on their academic skills. Rather, the committee should be looking for individuals with the qualities that will help to create a supportive learning environment. Peer instructors need to support the principles that guide the labour approach to literacy. They also need to be able to commit their time for the duration of the program. The following are some of the qualities to look for:
Several union programs have successfully trained and supported instructors. They have a wealth of expertise that can be shared with your committee, whether you are training the instructors yourself or with the help of a community college or school board.