September 2017 - Adult Basic Literacy

Program News

"I am not a teacher, but an awakener." 
~ Robert Frost

I've learned a lot about learning recently. I talk about and think about learning a lot, but I experienced it in a new way this month.

I was introduced to an article in a recent professional development session that looked at the neuroscience behind how people adapt to change, or learn. So much of our experience is
driven by our expectations and attitudes. In order to shift these expectations and attitudes, we need to experience a moment of insight, an awakening of something that we hadn't seen or pieces that we hadn't connected previously. The article states, "For insights to be useful, they need to be generated from within, not given to individuals as conclusions." Is it really that simple? I had to find out.

The Adult Basic Literacy (ABL) team had a professional development session the other weekend and decided to try this out. We prepared a session of "just" thinking, in small groups and corporately. We had no specific learning objective, nor did we have a new tool or technique to teach. We asked the participants to explore questions of identity and values and behaviors-who we are as ABL tutors, why we do what we do, and how we do it.

And here was my insight -- this kind of learning takes great faith on the part of the facilitators! Before the event, I struggled with questions of who should be in groups together, how to help them come to insights, and what to do about people who would leave frustrated about the lack of teaching and new material. The insight is TRUST. Trust that people will engage, whomever they sit with. Trust the people to go through the process in the ways they need to. Trust that the insights WILL happen and they will be exactly what each person needed.

Did they all have the same insight? No. But they all had at least one. They reconnected with their work in new ways. They shared practices and behaviors that some use easily and others had forgotten about. No one left feeling frustrated. Most felt it was one of the best learning sessions they've attended. And all I had to do was let go.

Trust the learners. Trust the process. Trust the insights. 

~ Edie

Basic Literacy Program Director

Rock, D., & Schwartz, J. (2006). The Neuroscience of Leadership. strategy+business, summer 2006 (43). Retrieved from
newsProgram News

Save the Dates for our new Professional Development Parties!
These events are scheduled on a Saturday morning each quarter of the upcoming year. We will provide time and space for collaborating with your peers, short workshops or facilitated discussion sessions, special events or speakers ... and LUNCH! Please RSVP for at least one of these sessions! 
  • Saturday, November 18 from 9:00 - 1:00 -- Identity, Power and Privilege: Reflections on Serving our Students. Keynote address and discussions to reflect on relational power structures between tutors and their students.
  • Saturday, February 25 from 9:00 - 1:00 -- Literacy Connects' Super Saturday mini-conference. 45-minute workshops with new techniques you can use with your students in your next session.
  • Saturday, May 19 from 9:00 - 12:30 -- Literacy and Language Learning: Tips and Ideas for Working with Adult Learners. Have you or your student gotten into a rut? Get new ideas and reminders of old ideas.
Additional Professional Development opportunities 

  • Book clubs and discussions -- TBD and by request! Send titles to Edie!
  • Refresher training--Next cohort starts Sept 5! Contact Nancy to sign up!
  • Observations and coaching of classes or 1:1 sessions (by request of any            ABL staff person)
  • Monthly Book Talks with Violet. Join Violet to learn about new books, hot   books, and great books to use with your learners! Each month will highlight books related to a different theme. Theme suggestions welcome! Register on the Reading Seed PD page
  • Reading Practices workshop at Marriott Starr Pass. Guest speaker and discussion time. This opportunity is made possible by the National Center for Families Learning conference. All are invited! Sunday, Oct 8 from 2:00 - 4:00 pm  

  • actionsCommunity Actions
    Would your student like to tell their transportation story?

    Literacy Quilt Raffle
    Literacy Connects volunteer, Celia Tuttle, and her friend Nancy Stein have created and donated this customized literacy quilt. Thanks to her generous donation, it could be yours! Display this beautiful quilt on your wall or grab a favorite book and cozy up! 

    From September 1, 2017 to November 30, 2017 at 5 pm, you can purchase as many raffle tickets as you like through our website. Tickets are $5 each or three for $10, and every dollar benefits literacy in Tucson. To learn more and to purchase tickets visit:

    Help us recruit!
    Literacy Connects has one more AmeriCorps position available for 2017-2018! Read the position description on our website. We are looking for a great person to fill the following position:
    For more information, check out the   Arizona Serves website and scroll down to "AmeriCorps state positions."

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    Literacy Connects | 200 E. Yavapai Rd. Tucson, AZ 85705 | (520) 882-8006