ESL Rural Routes Newsletter
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Fall 2020

News from Rural Routes

I hope you have had a good start to your fall programming and that you have been able to connect with your learners and find ways to help them learn. Don’t forget, call your advisor for any help you need, including how to connect with your learners online, how to engage them and how to teach online. We have JUST put together a new webinar on teaching writing online because we had heard from CALPs where some tutors were having difficulty making that work.

We are now able to travel to present at CALPs that prefer in-person training and are able to accommodate participants in accordance with the province’s Covid-19 guidelines. All services continue to be available online.

New Service from Rural Routes

We are very happy to announce that Glen McCalpin has joined the Rural Routes team. You all know Glen from his presentations at Symposium and at regional meetings. Now, Glen will also be able to travel to CALPs or present online as needed to support tutors and teachers in using the Foundational Numeracy modules and assessing learners. Glen is also available to help if you have learners interested in the Foundations for Learning courses.

You can reach Glen at

Here is some more information about Foundations For Learning and the Numeracy Modules

Foundations for Learning Program

This program is designed as a partnership between NorQuest College and Community Adult Learning Programs in Alberta to provide learning opportunities for people who are not able to attend a site or attend online at a regularly scheduled time.  These 12 week self-paced courses provide the flexibility for learners to work on their course at times that work best for them.  These courses have an instructor attached who can meet online with learners who require additional support.  Learners can also access 30 hours or free tutorial support through their local CALP.

For every learner in the program who registers with your CALP, you can invoice the College up to $900 to cover costs related to administrative support and tutor support for the learner. For a list of courses and information see this link Foundations for Learning.

If you have any questions regarding this program please email

Foundational Numeracy and Literacy Tutor Training and Support is Available

Tutors working with learners using the Foundational Numeracy or Literacy materials may feel alone; however, training and support is available to them.  Online and in person training sessions can be arranged with your site or in areas where several tutors are working with learners.

If you are not aware of the materials you can find them through the link below

To arrange training sessions or to get support please email Glen McCalpin at
Glen will present a webinar on December 1, 2020 10:00 am - 12:30 pm for tutors on working with the foundational numeracy materials. Sign up on the Rural Routes website.

New Resources

Needs Assessment Guide

Last year, the Research department at NorQuest conducted a needs assessment pilot project with several communities in Alberta. The communities received expert help in conducting a thorough scan and needs assessment of adult learning needs in their community to support program planning. In addition to the pilot assessments, the research team produced a detailed and VERY easy-to-use guide to conducting a community needs assessment, developing the tools, and collecting and analyzing data. This is hands-on, practical information that will help communities reach out to potential learners and stakeholders and collect and interpret the needed information. This guide will be made available on the CALP portal. More to come on this project.

ESL Tutor Handbook

If you have not already received your new ESL Tutor Handbook, it is coming to you as soon as we are able to deliver it. This resource is great for new tutors who may not be quite sure where to start. The guide takes them through the first few weeks step by step with all lesson plans, needs assessments, learner plans and handouts. It will help experienced tutors as well with new ideas, games and activities. If you can’t wait, you can download it from the Rural Routes website at our website.

ESL Resource Guide

This searchable pdf links you instantly to free, reliable ESL resources, carefully selected and assessed to make sure they are high quality, up to date, and appropriate for tutors and teachers.

Armchair Travel with a Purpose

Have you missed travelling this year? We certainly have. We couldn’t go in person, but we are travelling to Newfoundland via Zoom to attend the first Teachers of English as a Second Language virtual conference in Newfoundland. The conference is free. It takes place November 13 and 14. You can register here.

  • The keynote speaker is Dr. Jim Cummins, who is very well-known for his work on second language literacy.
  • Our very own Jacky and Alana are co-presenting on working with trauma-affected ESL learners.

We are sorry to have to tell you that the AZAR Grammar website has been taken down. It was for years an excellent resource for teaching grammar.

Also note that Learn English with CBC will be changing. We don’t know yet how, but we will keep you posted.


Amazing New Initiative – Mentorship Program for Newcomers

Your feedback helps the Alberta Mentorship Program better support you.

Alberta Mentorship Program: Bridging Cultural Differences

When you come to live in a culture that is different from your own, you may struggle to do the “right” thing. Fitting into the cultural norms can be stressful and even more so if you are looking for a job.

This is the reality for newcomers who arrive in Canada. A mentorship program can help newcomers learn about the work culture and behaviour in their new home. It can help them find work and feel more comfortable in their new workplace. Mentors can help newcomers fit their skills into the Canadian job market or introduce opportunities in Canada that tap into the newcomer’s skills in a way that they did not consider.

While the resources provided by the Alberta Mentorship Program (AMP) can help any kind of career mentorship, the primary focus is on programs and participants who are supporting newcomers to Canada. Creating a freely accessible website that addresses all stages of a mentorship program was a key goal of our program. The site contains information to support mentors and mentees, program administrators, and employers including samples, forms, and planning tools.

A key part of the AMP is our pilot program with two community partner organizations. These pilots are supported by our program partners: Edmonton and the Calgary Region Immigrant Employment Councils (ERIEC & CRIEC). Tapping into the experience of ERIEC and CRIEC builds on their success and shares it with our pilot program. Both our pilot sites are finding this connection invaluable.

“The biggest support for me was having the help of ERIEC and CRIEC through various bumps and barriers,” says Tyler Ramsay from Lethbridge Family Services. “Whether it was a quick email, connecting me to additional people/resources, or bouncing feedback off of them of what I was seeing.”

“Coming together and learning from the expertise of ERIEC and other agencies has been instrumental in the progress that we have made and in the way that our mentorship project is shaping up,” says Erin Brann from Northern Alberta YMCA. “Having these supports in place for guidance and resources helps us succeed in our efforts.”

Our mission is to spread mentorship in a way that is engaging and sustainable throughout the province. We hope to connect mentorship programs so they can share experiences, challenges, and ideas.

AMP is led by Doug Piquette with the Edmonton Region Immigrant Employment Council in collaboration with a provincial project team and stakeholder advisory committee. The project is made possible with funding provided by the Government of Alberta through an agreement with the Government of Canada.
Join us! We are holding a free, online session on Tuesday, November 24, 2020 at 10:00 am to celebrate the official launch of our website. Register for your spot today. Follow us on Twitter (@ABMentorship) and LinkedIn (Alberta Mentorship) for the latest information about AMP.


Webinar Schedule for November/December

Register on the Rural Routes website

Setting and Maintaining Boundaries

Event date: November 18, 2020, 12:00 - 1:00 pm

Learning Disabilities and ESL

Event date: November 19, 2020, 3:00 - 4:30 pm

Tutor Training Using the Foundational Numeracy Modules and assessing Learner Abilities

Event date: December 1 2020, 10:00 am - 12:00 pm

CALP Volunteer Engagement Webinar

Event date: December 3, 2020, 12:00 pm - 1:00 pm

Teaching Idioms

Event date: December 4, 2020, 12:00 - 1:00 pm

Foundations for Teaching Pronunciation

Event date: December 7, 2020, 1:00 - 3:00 pm


Event date: December 10, 2020, 12:00 - 1:00 pm

Language Experience Method

Event date: December 15, 2020, 12:00 - 1:00 pm

In case you forgot how to register:

  1. Select an event on the Rural Routes 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.


Rural Routes Services are funded by Alberta Advanced Education (AAE) and Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC).

Please direct comments to the Rural Routes team:

Dorte Weber - Associate Chair, Language Training

Jacky Rivas

Alana Johnson

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