NWT literacy providers offer short-duration workshops, longer-term small group learning, and classroom sessions designed for seniors. Seniors are often called upon to remind them about the activity. Learning activities are fun and mixed with games, socializing, prizes, recreation, craft, food and singing. Snacks and coffee are usually available. Literacy providers make arrangements for presentations on topics of interest to seniors and facilitated group discussions. They use an individualized approach and adjust the pace and support to the literacy needs of the senior. They also link learning to culture. It is challenging to maintain seniors engagement. Despite the range of efforts to maintain seniors enrolment, seniors still drop out. Community and family support for seniors learning may be reasons seniors don’t enroll in or stay in literacy activities. Seniors may not be supported and independent enough or want to participated in literacy activities.
More could be done by communities to address the literacy needs of seniors. There is little priority to planning for meeting the growing seniors population and their need for English reading, writing and communication skills and to express Aboriginal literacy. Communities have limited capacity to deal with senior literacy needs.
Seniors themselves may have a poor attitude about learning and be unaware of the variety of opportunities available to help them. Communities including seniors may not know the benefits of literacy. Seniors may view literacy as a deficit of reading, writing and number skills that should have been learned in school. Community leaders and other adults do not understand what literacy means or have a strong vision for meeting seniors literacy needs.
Although literacy and seniors committees exist in some NWT communities, there is inadequate organization around literacy supports. Literacy supports are fragmented and often inconsistently available. Low priority, limited resources, too few literacy providers and little sustained integration of effort are factors that effect seniors literacy supports in NWT communities.
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