The project was a collaboration of Alberta Employment & Immigration, Wetaskiwin Community Literacy Program, the City of Wetaskiwin and the Wetaskiwin Public Library. The following four workshops were hosted in Wetaskiwin on Mondays from 12-3 p.m. at the Wetaskiwin Community Literacy Office.
- Workshop 1: Above and Below the Waterline, April 11, 25 participants
- Workshop 2: Building Blocks of Canadian Culture, May 9, 21 participants,
- Workshop 3: Strategies and Tools To Use when Working with Newcomers, June 6, 19 participants
- Workshop 4: Communicating with First Nations People, Monday, June 13, 35 participants
Final Workshop 5: More strategies and tools for working with newcomers, Thursday, September 8, 12-3 p.m.
Participants were from the following areas: Wetaskiwin, Ponoka, Camrose, Red Deer, Leduc, Lac La Biche, Westerose, Hobbema, and Edmonton.
What were the topics you found most useful and interesting?
- Cultural differences, specifically how a culture may interpret something
- Communication styles and how they cause problems in the workplace
- Definitions: permanent residents, immigrants, temporary foreign workers, etc.
- Cultural diversity: the iceberg example
- Diversity, various beliefs
- The historical overview was helpful and Bruce did a great job of being fair in his presentation – didn’t portray aboriginals as victims entirely and was fair and thorough with the historical events.
- Where the tribes are the same and where they are different
- Snippets about native beliefs
- Topics about evolution, ecological and environmental circumstances – the influence of natives on European settlers and the influence of Europeans on Canada
- The historical beginnings of 'policies'; the names of significant leaders of the native communities
- Learning about barriers faced by First Nations people
Future learning opportunities requested:
- The next process in helping businesses to welcome and understand native culture into the workforce.
- More about how to communicate effectively with today’s First Nations people
- Cultural differences that affect workplace behaviour
- Treaty information
- Health characteristics of First Nations and modern living habits
- More about native spirituality, native healing, medicine
- Efforts being made to heal families, family systems, residential schools experience, drugs/alcohol abuse recovery
- More about native cultures and customs
- How to improve relations with First Nations
- Multiculturalism in the workplace
- Cohesive multicultural workplaces
- Built-in cultural attitude of the Mexican populace
- How to deal with different communication styles and cultures
Ideas from the workshops that participants found most useful to explore with their jobs:
- Outsiders’ opinions on Canadians
- Understanding what it means to be Canadian
- Sharing relevant identity characteristics
- Learning how to be a welcoming workplace
- How to handle employee issues with new Canadians
- Coming with pre-programmed culturally learned responses
- What you can’t see?
- More in-depth awareness of communication styles and understanding of others
- Volunteer activity
- Learning where the other person comes from and utilizing this knowledge to improve teaching skills
- How to try different communication styles
- Understanding cultural differences
- Diversity, acceptance
This article was submitted by Manisha Khetarpal of the Wetaskiwin Public Library.
For more information about Essential Skills Integration, contact: Manisha Khetarpal, Manager of Library Services, 780-361-4447, firstname.lastname@example.org.