When literacy instruction begins, practitioners hope that the learning
path will be smooth and straight - that learners will achieve
their stated goals and move on to their next steps. Leaving
the literacy program should
be a planned-for event.
Often, however, the path is not
without bumps or sidetracks. Some learners, for a variety
of reasons, leave the literacy
program without achieving stated goals and leaving becomes
an unplanned-for event.
It is important to remember that some learners will leave without notice no matter
what steps you take to support and encourage them in their
you have done everything you can, given human and financial
constraints, to identify and reduce barriers to participation
and to learning, then
you just have to accept the fact that the learner has left.
There may be times when an agency requires that a
student leave the program.
This could be because of disruptive behaviour, poor attendance,
general lack of commitment to the program or other reasons.
Depending on the circumstances,
it may or may not be possible for the student to return
at a later time. For example, you might need to inform
the student that he or she will
not be re-enrolled in the program until specific behavioural
changes are made. It is important not to abandon the student
completely - suggest
other agencies where he or she might feel more comfortable
or that might be more suited to his or her current needs.
reason that an agency might initiate a learner exit is
because some learners have difficulty "letting go". In
addition to being the first positive learning experience
this adult may have had,
program has probably become a safe and welcoming environment.
Of course, we WANT our
programs to be safe and welcoming, but we don't want to
foster a sense of dependency. Literacy programs are the
beginning; if learners are to
move on to their next steps, they need to leave at some
You can help make this transition away from your
program a bit easier by phasing it in - perhaps the learner
can gradually reduce the amount
of time he or she spends at the program while increasing
the amount of time at other activities. If the student
is moving on to a job training program, it
might be possible to attend the literacy program for
half of the day and attend the training program for the
other half. However you approach this,
it should be a legitimate activity that relates to the
learner's needs and goals. Making up something for him
or her to do won't solve the problem
in the long run. Whatever approach you decide to take,
the focus must be developing and implementing an effective
When it is time for an agency to initiate
an exit, a clear policy that states codes of conduct
and reasons for agency-initiated exits
will be beneficial.
Any policies relating to attendance, behaviour, reasons
for dismissal and conduct in general should be shared
with students at
intake so it
doesn't come as a surprise if someone is asked to leave! Click
here for sample policies.
- Work with other agencies as appropriate to help learners cope with
- Ask for emergency contact numbers during
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Questions for Reflection
- Does your program have policies and procedures for both learner-initiated
and agency-initiated exits? If yes, how might you improve
them? If no, what would you include? What steps do you
need to take to get the new
or improved policies and procedures approved and implemented?
would cause YOU to ask a learner to leave your program?
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