On Saturday October 22, 2016 ALTA hosted its annual training for new and returning ALTA Coordinators. Coordinators ensure that their respective ALTA classes around the country are run efficiently.
The day began with a welcome and the dissemination of Mental Health guideline booklets to all coordinators. This was a suggestion coming out of our Mental Health workshop earlier this year and detailed how coordinators and tutors should respond to any mental health concerns in the ALTA classroom.
Coordinators also had the opportunity to examine the newly revised Tutor Book 1B and make recommendations. This was followed by a session led by Paula on the Refresher trainings which were completed prior to the start of the academic year. Feedback provided from tutors who attended the refreshers was examined and recommendations made where necessary. ALTA’s Programme Manager Joanne Phillips also conducted a session on ALTA’s database which proved to be quite useful for the coordinators.
After lunch, coordinators examined the Reading Circle program and came up with ways to encourage students to join the program and to encourage an open line of communication between the ALTA Community Classes and the ALTA Reading Circles. This was followed by discussions on present and potential issues coordinators may have in their regions and a plan of action and regional agenda were created to be implemented going forward.
The day ended with a panel discussion moderated by Paula. On the panel were four longstanding and experienced ALTA Coordinators – Gloria Ferdinand, Jeanette Williams, Veronica Fongyit and Lystra Hazarie who shared advice on effectively carrying out ones role as an ALTA Coordinator. The panel was extremely informative and enjoyed by all. Some of the suggestions and comments coming out of the discussion were the importance of being a part of the team and treating everyone with respect. Jeanette Williams also stressed that coordinators should see their role on two levels- as a coordinator for tutors and students – “both students and tutors must feel comfortable to approach you” she said. Jeanette also stressed on the importance of showing appreciation to our volunteer tutors who give so much of their time to ALTA and said that the interest of ALTA students must be a coordinator’s priority. Encouraging tutors to identify and understand specific literacy issues which individual students have, was another area Jeanette identified as being important to ones role as coordinator.
Bernadette Nathaniel one of our new coordinators shared her thoughts on the training session:
“As a new coordinator, the training afforded me the opportunity to learn from more experienced coordinators who provided valuable insight into what it takes to be effective and professional. The session with Joanne with regards to the database was also very useful as sometimes, as a tutor, you do not explore all the available resources. The Reading Circle exercise was informative as was the session with the amended Book 1B as this will help with structuring classes in a more efficient way. Overall, the training will assist me in carrying out my role as a coordinator efficiently and effectively.”