Urban circle training centre, an English language program

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Hawkins, Carol Ann
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This practicum experience is a study of an English language program developed at Urban Circle Training Centre, a program designed to employ Aboriginal women in banking, business and retail sectors. A problem arose when the materials to teach a 12 week English language program to this group of women was inappropriate and ineffective. The 14 women studied between the ages of 18-55 years were all on social assistance living in Winnipeg. The students were attending Urban Circle Training Centre to improve their skills and find employment. The major objective of the English language program was to develop both written and oral language skills in a program which integrated Aboriginal perspectives so that the students were better prepared for employment in the retail, business, and banking sectors of our community. Needs assessment questionnaires, evaluations and a review of literature were the primary sources of data collection. The results indicated (a) the topics were relevant, (b) Students oral and written communication skills improved, (c) Workplace employers found the students were prepared to meet the demands of the workplace, and (d) Students found the format was interesting. From this practicum, I learned (a) the importance of relevancy in program planning, (b) the importance of critical reflection in learning, (c) the need for effective oral and written communication skills in the workplace, (d) that a meaningful experience can be created by developing an interesting program, (e) students move towards a greater degree of elf direction in learning, (f) the artistry of education, (g) how to design, implement, and evaluate an English language program, (h) more about Aboriginal culture, and (i) to be prepared to change the direction of the course to meet the changing needs of the learners.