Welcome to the Saskatchewan Action Research Network… SARN 2016-2017
Thanks to the Ministry of the Economy (and the Ministry of Advanced Education for several years before that), our Saskatchewan Action Research Network is looking forward to another exciting year. Year thirteen, believe it or not!
Actually, we weren’t sure we would have another year… It is no secret that resources are scarce in Saskatchewan right now due to the current economy; but, happily, the Ministry of the Economy has been able to support SARN for another year. With guidance from our Advisory Board, we have some exciting—even challenging—plans for the year ahead.
But first…. If you are new to the field or unfamiliar with SARN……
Our mission is:
- To help build our field of basic education/literacy through action research training workshops and follow-up mentoring by training practitioners to conduct action research in their workplaces. Why take this approach? Because the straight-forward approach of action research allows our field to try better—often more current—approaches and techniques in our classrooms and tutoring situations. By experimenting with new ideas in our diverse Saskatchewan settings with a recognized applied research approach, we can learn from one another. We are sharing our evidence-based findings and building a knowledge base for the future (see the “SK practitioner Reports” link at www.sarn.ca. In short, SARN is working to build “Best Practices” to help our field and, in turn, help our students.
- To build a digital repository of current research by drawing from the wider national and international field of research (see the resources link on www.sarn.ca). This part of our mission allows our field to stay current with research trends, materials, and best practices, even beyond our province’s borders.
- To conduct a blog (this very blog) on a monthly basis focusing on a theme of interest to the field. Why add this step? Why have a blog?
Consider this, the Masters of Adult Education at the UofS closed years ago. The Adult Education program at the UofR has not been offering classes on adult literacy/basic education. SABEA had a low registration at its annual conference this year (but all involved really hope this turns around). The annual Exchange Conference that the Saskatchewan Literacy Network (SLN) used to host has not been offered for several years (we all are hoping this turns around too). Moreover, our field has limited access to publishers’ displays, field-specific research, and new approaches to teaching and learning. So, with an economy that is slowly recovering, this leaves SARN as one of the few vehicles working to build our field; and, among other pressing goals, help our learners move into the workforce.
- To include the entire field of basic education 10 & 12, adult literacy, English as an Additional Language, Family Literacy, Aboriginal Literacy, Workplace Literacy, Health Literacy, etc. SARN seeks to reach as many corners of the field as possible. The fact is, many of our learners move from region to region, program to program. SARN is one of the few projects that has the potential to reach, include and assist all potential sectors and learners across our diverse field.
So what are we planning for the coming year?
- A few weeks ago, Teri Thompson and Jacqueline Bruce of the SARN team conducted a presentation at the annual SABEA conference on SARN and conducted a “mini-workshop.” We are now planning a follow-up training workshop aimed at ABE/Literacy practitioners after Christmas. The challenge this year for SARN is that there is limited travel funding for the field. It will be hard to get people together for the typical group-based workshop. So, as discussed at SABEA, we are exploring ways to deliver this BE/literacy follow-up training workshop using distance education. STAY TUNED.
- Bula Ghosh, Jacqueline Bruce and Allan Quigley of the SARN team are developing plans for another noon-hour webinar. Per our mission, this year we are reaching out to English as an Additional Language (EAL) practitioners. The anticipated topic will be, “Transitioning English as an Additional Language Students and Helping them to Succeed in the Workforce.” STAY TUNED FOR THIS TOO.
By the way, if you aren’t directly involved in EAL, there are two Webinars on the SARN website now from previous years (www.sarn.ca) with slides and audio aimed at BE/Literacy practitioners and the workforce. Why not check them out?
- As a follow-up to the above one-hour noon EAL webinar, SARN will be developing a second action research workshop, mainly aimed at EAL practitioners. This one may also be delivered by distance technology. AGAIN…. STAY TUNED.
- We will continue the monthly SARN blog, focusing this year on “Heroes and Heroines of Adult Literacy and Basic Education.” This topic was discussed with our Advisory Board, and our first story will come out by the end of December.
Why this topic? Have you ever wondered, “Where did our field come from?” “Where and when did our field begin?” “Why?” “Who were the first to try to teach adults with low literacy and how?” Our long history is fascinating—largely unknown, but fascinating. We will see how much personal sacrifice has gone into creating our field and how adult literacy, and what are now calling basic education classes, were first developed. There are many reasons to be proud of our field. Stay tuned.
Want to get involved?
- Would you be interested in telling the story of how your program got started? Its history? How, where, and why it began? If so, contact Jacqueline Bruce (firstname.lastname@example.org) or Allan Quigley (email@example.com) for the guidelines. Why not tell the stories of our own programs?
- Last year, we had students tell their stories of Transformative Learning (see last year’s blogs at www.sarn.ca). If you have a student interested in telling their story, Jacqueline or I can send out the guidelines used last year. Budget allowing, we can offer them a small honorarium for doing this.
Who is on our board and SARN team?
Welcome to another exciting year with SARN.
Make a difference..
Dr. Allan Quigley and the SARN Team