The Eastern Door: Awareness and Vision
Awareness of Native Literacy
In conducting the literacy needs assessment, this project asked practitioners, host agencies, community members, and learners -all four sectors- how they found out/became aware of Native Literacy services. Overwhelmingly, the response was by word of mouth. This was elaborated upon to detail family and friends, community members, Native agencies in respective order. The top three Native agencies listed as main sources of information about Native literacy services were Council Fire, Native Womens Resource Centre, and the Native Canadian Centre.
No one had heard about the program from a learner, nor had they read a flyer, pamphlet, or newsletter advertising literacy programs and activities. In the community meeting, one participant suggested that programs and staff not spend too much time, energy, and funding on these types of advertising because it doesnt matter how we advertise it. Our findings indicate that the best method of advertising is by word of mouth. Building informed partnerships would strengthen this method of access and awareness, as does in-person outreach and off-site demonstrations of program applications, a form of mobile literacy.
Practitioners were asked if learners in their program were aware of alternative literacy services. NWRC was the top reply. Four respondents said none that they were aware of, and one participant listed the following: Alternative School at Native Child & Family Services, Council Fire, East End Literacy, the Meeting Place, and the Toronto Board of Education.
Most practitioners and community agency representatives who participated in the survey were keenly aware that there are more learners out in the community than are accessing literacy services, and who keep experiencing frustration with other education and training programs due to their lack of literacy skills. When asked, How do you know about these other learners? their responses were:
If there are learners who have not been involved in Native literacy services, what services do you know they are aware of?
How do you try to reach these learners who clearly need/wish to learn more? Suggestions included:
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