Colleges and universities have been increasing the number of innovative programs and courses offered in recent years.
Ryerson University‘s Spanning the Gaps program offered through the Chang School is one such example, developed “based on the belief that education can break cycles of inter-generational poverty and social exclusion, and that higher education can transform lives and contribute to social cohesion, social stability, and a civic society“.
Last Winter semester I had the pleasure of helping students earn an equivalent credit in a Probability and Statistics course they had missed taking in high school, yet was a requirement for entrance to the university in the Fall.
Centennial College has similarly offered various upgrading programs to help bridge the gap from high school to college. Last summer I had the pleasure of teaching one of two introductory math classes for a group of students entering a competitive Automotive Pre-Apprenticeship program. As a side note: The success rate for the program was wonderfully surprising! Several months later, all the students had successfully passed their math requirements and were working in the field in excellent placements.
Centennial also ran a year-long pilot program called “Pimooteewin” (which means “the journey” in Cree), specially directed at aboriginal students looking to upgrade their skills and get accepted into a college program. As the math instructor/mentor and volunteer filmmaker and blogger for the latter half of Pimooteewin, I learned an enormous amount about teaching, about aboriginal history and people in Canada, and ultimately about students’ educational needs.
Recently, I produced our final video for the Pimooteewin Pathways program:
Pimooteewin: Reflections on the Year Public. 10.5 mins.