ESL Rural Routes Newsletter



The Rural Routes Team

Community Profile

Tips & Hints


Have you developed resources or discovered unique ways to meet your community’s needs? Would you like to be in our Community Snapshot feature? Contact us to share your knowledge and ideas. Email

Regions Map


Region 1: North
Region 2: East-West
Region 3: Central
Region 4: South

Check out our ESL Rural Routes website!

The Rural Routes website has launched successfully. We’re excited to see the increase in users and hope you will share the site with tutors and other ESL providers in your community. We are especially hoping you are able to connect to a variety of resources and begin conversations on the discussion board. The consultants will be checking the forums regularly to answer any questions you may have.

November 2018

News from Rural Routes

We have been very busy beavers here at Rural Routes. We are developing new workshops and webinars and updating the existing ones. We heard your concerns about supporting learners with mental health challenges and trauma affected learners. The new workshop on trauma affected ELLs is ready to go, and the mental health workshop is coming on stream late fall/early winter. Marijuana became legal in Canada October 17, and we were ready with a new workshop offering useful facts and information you might want your ELLs to know. ESL literacy has been identified as a gap in services in both the cities and the smaller communities receiving refugees. Did you know that we provide both face-to-face and online workshops for ESL literacy providers? We have a brand new workshop on lesson planning: Lesson Planning Made Easy. If lesson planning is one of your least favourite jobs, try this workshop to learn how a good set of lesson plans can actually help reduce the workload.

There are more wonderful workshops coming. We are thinking about you hard working, sometimes too hard working, ESL facilitators, teachers and volunteers, with a workshop on setting and maintaining professional boundaries for ESL providers. Participants will learn about compassion fatigue and what to do about it. We know many communities have sponsored refugees who are facing the dreaded Month 13 – the end of the sponsorship period. Many sponsors are looking for support in preparing their refugee families for this time. A new workshop is on its way. Finally, we are developing a workshop for practitioners who want to help newcomers learn about indigenous people and cultures in Canada. What are the facts newcomers need to understand? How can we teach it? How can ELLs begin to understand the recommendations of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission? It’s all coming to an advisor near you.

Rural Routes Webinars – Changes to Registration Coming January 1, 2019

Registration for Rural Routes webinars is changing January 1. Participants need to create a NorQuest user profile and use it to register each time they want to take a webinar. See instructions below.

Your advisor is available to walk you through it if needed. Just give your advisor a call or if your advisor is on the road, call or email Dorte or (780) 644-6758.

New Webinar Registration Process

How it works:

  1. Select an event on the RR website.
  2. Click to register. You will be taken to the online registration web page.
  3. Click the green button “Select a Class”.
  4. Select the webinar you want (usually there is only one option).
  5. Click “Register Now” This takes you to the Shopping Cart. (Don’t worry, there is no cost associated with Rural Routes webinars)
  6. Click “Proceed to Checkout”. This takes you to the login page for NorQuest.
  7. Use your username and password to log in and complete your registration.
  8. If you don’t have a username yet, click “Create Profile”, fill out the information. It will take you back to the shopping cart page.
  9. Click “Register”.
  10. You will receive an email confirmation of your registration.

Use your Profile login and password to register for future webinars. Keep this information safe just as you would any other login information.

Webinars in December

  • December 4 Lunch and Learn – ESL Financial Literacy
  • December 12 Lunch and Learn – Growth and Goalsetting for ESL Instructors

The Rural Routes Team

You have met us at Symposium, at workshops and regional meetings, but do you know us well? We are more than just a collection of pretty faces! Among the five of us, we have expertise in ESL literacy, Working with Low German Mennonite communities, intercultural communication,
refugee integration, Canadian Language Benchmarks and assessment, planning, teaching, evaluating, and so much more. Whatever your ESL related question is, reach out to your Rural Routes advisor. She can provide the expertise you need.

Call or email your advisor for face-to-face workshops, webinar recommendations, mentoring or resources. Check our ESL Roural Routes if you are not sure who your advisor is or how to reach her.

Community Profile: Stettler

Stettler is located in east-central Alberta approximately 101 km east of Red Deer. Stettler is known as "The Heart of Alberta."

Stettler Learning Centre is our operating name, but Stettler & District Community Adult Learning Program is our legal name and we have been incorporated for over 25 years.

ESL related programming:

  • One on one tutoring
  • Multi-level classes focused on reading/writing; speaking/listening, etc.
  • Workshops: Citizenship Prep, Newcomer Integration, IELTS Prep, CELPIP Prep
  • We have had ESL learners involved in our GED Prep classes, HCA and Practical Nurse programs through RDC, our Learner Driver’s License Prep class, and other

Summary of the Points West project

We have had a working relationship with Points West Living, supporting ELL in their newcomer staff, for near 3 years when the opportunity to work with them and implement a broader program of intercultural communication skills and workplace essential skills arose with funding via the Newcomer Integration Grant and our partnership with NorQuest College, Rural Routes.

Over 2018 we hosted a series of intercultural communication workshops (facilitated by Rural Routes) that consisted of a 4-part series for the management team and a 3-part series for all staff, newcomer and Canadian born. We also put on a series of workshops that focused on improving document-use, reading, conflict management, managing stress, Canadian culture in the workplace, and more. These were built based on feedback from staff and used forms, documents, scenarios, and other artefacts directly from the Points West Living workplace. We are now in the final stages of this phase, completing an IDI with the management team, completing the project evaluation with NorQuest College, and beginning discussions with Points West Living about what next.

Demographics of ESL learners in your community – rough estimate of ESL population, where are they from?

The learners we see coming in from this community are predominantly from the Philippines, India, Central America, and South Korea. The majority are PR; however, we are starting to see an increase in TFWs again.

From the 2016 census data for the Division that Stettler town and county fall into we can infer that about 8% of the population speaks a non-official language as their mother tongue, the majority of these being Tagalog (Filipino), Malayalam (south India), a variety of Slavic languages, German (assumption that this would be primarily be the Hutterite and Mennonite communities), Hungarian, Gujarati and Punjabi (north India and Pakistan), Spanish (Latin American), Korean, Cantonese and Mandarin (China and surrounding).

Tools and Hints

Where are your English Language Learners hiding?

Sometimes it can be difficult to attract enough newcomers to run an ESL class or conversation group. Do you sometimes wonder where all the ELLs are hiding when you are recruiting? Here are some ideas that may work for you.

Schools: Have your advertising available in the local school offices, and ask to meet with an administrator or counselor to get their support for the idea of newcomer parents studying English to help their children succeed. Talk to your RR advisor about ideas and resources for parents to help their children in school.

Employers: If you know where in the community the newcomers work, you can approach the HR department of that company. They may be happy to encourage employees to take language classes. It may help focus the content of the class on employment related language, but that’s fine. We have materials for that at Rural Routes ☺

Places of Worship: Is there a church, temple, or mosque that newcomers in your community attend? Talk to them about promoting ESL classes. They may be able to reach community members who are not employed or active in the schools.

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