RÉCIT AGE Newsletter

October 2021
As we move through this academic year at lightning speed, it is important to remember to take care of ourselves. Participating in different activities like the EPC Après-cours, Project RISE, or even a little RÉCIT PD might just be the ticket. Our goal, as always, is to bring you solutions that work and to provide spaces where we can work together.

Recent activities

A2T (Accessibility and Assistive Technology)

Exploring Assistive Tech at Place Cartier

Casey Finn-Lefsrud, Avi Spector, and Matthew Kennedy led a session on the benefits and limitations of different assistive tech applications for the Place Cartier (LBPSB) resource team.
The Place Cartier resource team took a closer look at WordQ and Read & Write with the goal of exploring how these two tools could be used by adult learners during class and how WordQ could be used within the constraints of an exam situation.
In a classroom use case, the Special Ed techs discussed how some students with learning difficulties require verbal instructions. This becomes a challenge when written content is placed online and no one is available to help the student decode it.

The Special Ed techs proposed a solution using the “audio maker” feature we explored together in Read & Write. The audio maker feature allows for highlighting a passage of written text (e.g. written activity instructions) to create a spoken dialogue audio file, a process called text-to-speech or TTS.
The Special Ed techs suggested uploading the resulting TTS audio file to their learning management system (Google Classroom) for students to review at home. Not only would this help students who require verbal instructions but now ALL students could benefit from the choice of having both written and spoken instructions, depending on their learning preference!
If you are interested in setting up a similar in-person or online exploration of Assistive Tech applications in your centre, please contact

Creating trusting relationships between students and teachers at ACCESS West

Inspired by the University of Minnesota’s Check & Connect program, the resource teachers, professionals, and administrators from the ACCESS West centre at RSB have developed their own tutoring program.

In their tutoring program, weekly meetings are set up for adult learners in the bricklaying and masonry program. These regular meetings help adult learners track information, such as hours spent in class, absences, a calendar of upcoming modules, evaluations, and so on.
Weekly tutoring meetings also provide a space for 1-on-1 discussions, which help to strengthen the teacher-student relationship. The teacher not only works with the adult learner to develop motivational strategies but also intervenes with academic and personal difficulties, when they arise. The ultimate goal of the tutoring program is to help adult learners succeed by taking responsibility for their own learning and eventually becoming independent learners.  
Mariève Gagné (RSB) gave us a first-hand account of the tutoring approach that is now used with the Bricklaying and Masonry program at ACCESS West. Want to know more? Please take a look at this bilingual video miniseries, created in partnership between RÉCIT A2T and Services éducatifs complémentaires (SÉC).

Check it out !

Après-cours is back!

Adult Education 101

In just a few short weeks the EPC committee will be hosting the first Après-cours of the year. We have a few guest speakers lined up and we will be tooting our own horn (somebody has to!) by presenting our service offer along with a few of our sister organization (EPC and Équipe-choc to name two). Come join us on October 27 at 4:15 PM by pressing the big red button on the Après-cours site.

Project RISE

Project RISE & OERs

Nobody likes recreating the wheel! Project RISE is all about supporting teachers as they create interactive digital learning resources intended for our curriculum and our adult learners. These resources are then shared across the province for the benefit of the anglophone adult ed community.

All RISE resources are what are known as Open Educational Resources. OERs are teaching and learning resources that are available for free and which can legally be retained, reused, revised, remixed, and redistributed under Creative Commons licenses. This chapter from the open source K-12 Educational Technology Handbook has more information about OERs and Creative Commons licences.

Curious about Project RISE? Learn more about it here.

Centre Support

Forget Me Not

“Things end but memories last forever”1 goes the old adage, but not all memories are eternal. When I came back from my three months of medical leave in August, I had forgotten how to use a variety of tools that I used effortlessly just a few months prior. Fortunately, I have in-house tech support (Google and my youngest child, the tech wiz). I felt the frustration that one feels when this type of memory loss occurs. I brushed it off as an over-reliance on technology. I am a RÉCIT after all.

Looking for answers

Then I took a deep breath and looked for more concrete answers. If you’re asking yourself the question: have we forgotten how to remember? Let me reassure you that the answer to that is: no! “We remember naturally. We forget naturally too. Both processes happen regardless of our education, intelligence, or tendencies to out-source part of our memory.”2 That is all fine and dandy, but why had I forgotten?

Memory for skills is called procedural memory. Think of the expression: “it’s like riding a bike”. It works much in the same way. Basically procedural memory is stored as an action sequence, and is usually retrieved automatically when a person, for example, wants to: drive a car, send a text, write a letter, etc. In other words, every single thing that we do, everything that we know how to do is stored as a sequence in procedural memory. This means that if there is memory loss relating to part of the sequence, then these losses are perceived as distressing and confusing. Essentially, you need to remember the whole sequence for the procedure to be complete. Failures or losses in the sequence occur when the sequence becomes disrupted or in my case interrupted for three months. When this happens, we must retrieve the information in our conscious memory, which was accessed when learning the skill. Without practice, facts and procedural skills are susceptible to being forgotten. I drew parallels between what happened to me and what we call summer loss or regression of learning that students experience during summer vacation.

Summer Loss

Teachers know how to support students with summer loss. Some strategies could be a review of the content or exercises to remember concepts and solidify notions. After that, we proceed by introducing new concepts on a strong foundation. I then asked myself the following question:  

In what ways does “summer loss” or something akin to it impact the teachers that I support?

Without doing any in-depth analysis, and based on my own experience, I suspect that there are strategies and practices that you have heard about, or have wanted to incorporate, and somehow got disrupted. As a result, there are fragments that were lost or forgotten. This further delayed your motivation or willingness to adopt or apply whatever it was that you were interested in applying.

Classroom applications

I speak from experience. When I was in the classroom, I wanted to try everything, but lacked the time and the energy. The strategies that I did adopt were purely accidental and fortunately, they helped both me and my students. So, why are we talking about this today? It is because I’m on a quest to help as many teachers as I can, in the specific ways that they need. Perhaps you attended a training session and didn’t have the opportunity to try a strategy or tool. You’re now being presented with new PD opportunities, but you want to go back and try something that you’ve seen before. Unfortunately, you only remember fragments. Maybe instead of creating new PD opportunities, we revisit, reuse, and reinvest missed strategies and tools. I invite you to reach out to your local ped consultant, to your TLT (Technology Lead Teacher), or to me for support in reviewing, exercising, and solidifying concepts that will optimize your practice.

Giovanna Salvagio —
1 Kumar Milan

EC in QC (Educational Consulting in Québec)

Thinking about Thinking

The article that inspired this text has caused a questioning of how time at work is used. The concept here is not one of efficiency, rather it is more about thinking about thinking. As consultants, we are often asked to be expeditious, efficient, and avant-gardist. Combining all three takes time and effort. We need to let our minds wander, to allow our bodies to move, and to enjoy those space cadet moments when vacuity takes over from efficiency ...or does it?

This unfocused time is beneficial for gathering energy and garnering inspiration. There are still targets to reach, both your own and those on paper, so it may not be a wise decision to spend all of your time staring out a window instead of finishing a report. I am not sure that “I am being creative” is an acceptable answer to your boss asking what you are doing as you stare at the parking lot.

In his Forbes magazine article, Tomas Chamorro-Premuzic brings up several points about how what can be perceived as wasting time is in fact highly productive and helps with the creative process.

Active procrastination

Procrastination in and of itself is not a dirty word when it allows the procrastinator to 1- prioritize tasks and 2- let pressure be the great motivator that it can be. When you make choices, you live with the consequences, so choose your back burner projects wisely.

Work breaks

We are all pretty guilty of not taking breaks and feeling sluggish at the end of the day. It is not always the right time to stand up and make tea, but it should be at some point during the work day. Allowing yourself to create distance between you and your task can help to give you a fresh perspective on what you need to achieve.

Creative thinking

The author writes that “great ideas are often incubating during periods of distraction and unfocus”. 3 AM flashes of genius and just the right idea popping up always seem to happen at the most inopportune time. The freedom to think is essential for this process to happen.

Water cooler gossip

Let’s focus more on “staff room chatting” or whatever form your social interactions take on in your work environment. This type of socializing is essential to building relationships anchored in trust. In these less formal situations, you can be seen as more of a colleague than a consultant.

Reputation is king (or queen)

Building a reputation as a reliable consultant in your working sphere is paramount. This reputation is not only useful in creating trusting relationships with teachers, but also to help your superiors understand the work that you do. It can be quite difficult to quantify what we do; it is often better to qualify it. This cannot come at the expense of our physical and mental health. As the author states: “there are only two ways to increase your productivity: to achieve more without increasing your effort, or achieve the same while reducing it.”

Take care of yourselves and keep your fingers on your keyboards, because that is where the future in education lies.  

How To Waste Time And Manage Impressions In The Hybrid Age Of Work (And Why You Should)


Visit the RÉCIT VT website for updates and information. Vocational teachers, consultants, and administrators can also book an appointment with James for any PD needs or training requests.

James Burn on Twitter

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How to reach us: Facebook and Twitter:
@SalvagioJoanne   @ebowles_RECIT   @a_spector   @MrGwrites

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