One Day Workshop Fall 2017

A year ago, we didn’t have enough registrants to hold our annual Reaching Out With English (ROWE). It was a blow to us at CESLM, since we were proud of our 30-hour training, and saw that it was filling a vital need here in Calgary, training volunteers to start ESL outreach ministries in their churches. So, we had to do some creative thinking. Was this training needed? Yes. Was it meeting the needs of church based volunteers? Maybe.

An answer came in the form of a request from a Calgary church, for a shorter, one-day workshop to help them with their ESL Conversation café. We talked to the folks at Woodgreen Presbyterian Church to find out what they wanted. They volunteered to host the workshop, and we advertised on our website, opening it to others. We had seven registrants, even though there wasn’t much time to advertise. I think that the results were a success, and provide a template for future module based workshops.

With the help of Marilyn Millions, the team leader from St. James Anglican Church, Margaret Daley, and Al Pole, we held our first workshop on Saturday October 21st. We offered sessions on: The reason and importance of our ministry, the nuts and bolts of getting started, topics that work, getting learners to participate, working with beginners, grammar and pronunciation, games and celebrations, and employment. Those who have attended ROWE will recognize some of the topics as ones covered in our 30 Hour training. Each participant received a binder of resources, and 3 booklets provided by ALIS.

The evaluations were quite positive. Participants appreciated the topics, resources, ideas and meeting others who are involved in this ministry. Some wanted more time for discussion. Most expressed interest in attending future workshops.

So where to go next?

We have also had an invitation to do a workshop with different topics, some more advanced than we offered on the 21st. We can tap into the expertise of some of our former ROWE presenters, or find other experts in various fields. We plan to create a list of modules and possible presenters, and offer them on our website. Groups can decide what they want and need, and we can create workshops to meet those needs. Above all, let’s scratch where it itches!


Dale Fisher