Coordinators as a whole are not only completely committed to the concept of adult learning and Aboriginal literacy, but we suspect that in the absence of sufficient "fuel" to run the programs that their commitment alone sometimes ensures the survival of program offerings. Many were the instances that program resources were so scare that one had to conclude in amazement that the program still ran at all!
By identifying the current common advantages or benefits and challenges and program obstacles (this section) and combining this narrative with the section on "Critical Components" - the key ingredients that comprise a well-working program, it is hoped that the combination will indicate to all Resource Directory users some of the paths ahead that may be more difficult to navigate then others.
A number of themes have emerged during the course of our interviews and data collection that we believe will substantially enhance our current understanding of the status of Aboriginal literacy programming in Canada. As the concept of "successful programming" is implied in our analysis here, we would do well to attempt to come to grips with a working definition of the concept. The term "successful" is always value-laden and subjective in definition. The term, even in the field of Aboriginal literacy, means many different things to different people. Our use of the term "successful program" supposes a program that is responsive and geared to the experiences and aspirations of learners, is adequately resourced both in terms of money and people fulfilling various roles, and leads to a marked improvement in the quality of life of participants because of the social and educational gains enjoyed by program participants.
Challenge # 1 - Isolation and the Onerous
Aboriginal literacy practitioners are "diamonds in the rough" laboring long and hard, too often in isolation, and without the support of peers and like-minded advocates. Outside of their operating milieu, they are not generally well-known - in spite of the impact they have made on learners lives, and thus the community. In many instances, finding these "diamonds" has taken a lot more digging than originally anticipated.
The researchers had to penetrate through many more layers of secondary stakeholders than was originally thought necessary or possible! In all jurisdictions, save two, the theme of isolation and the concurrent issues of information-sharing, networking, professional development and peer validation processes were noticeable, respectively, by their presence and absence!