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At Dumont Technical Institute, Learners Always Come First

Mar 8, 2018

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By Janice DePeel

Part of Dumont Technical Institute’s motto is that “Learners Come First.” Understandably, people may wonder what exactly this means for learners attending Dumont Technical Institute. What exactly does “Learners Come First” look like?

For Justin Pilon, it’s the opportunity to take distance learning classes in the Adult Basic Education Level 4program that will allow him to meet the prerequisites for post-secondary education after he graduates in May of 2018. Prior to coming to Dumont Technical Institute, Justin had not decided what he wanted to do as his career but he quickly narrowed his options down to ‘a health-care related field.’ While he was in Level 3, he enjoyed volunteering weekly at Victoria Hospital, in Prince Albert.

The volunteer work at a healthcare facility exposed Justin to several different careers. But the one he liked the most was Radiologist Technician. However, there was a dilemma. Admission to a Radiologist Technician program requires credits in Physics 20 and Chemistry 30 – neither of which is offered at Dumont Technical Institute Prince Albert. Fortunately, we were able to work with Justin and Sun West School Division to help him gain these credits over two semesters. Justin maintained his full time student status while taking classes at Dumont Technical Institute and one class online in each semester.

He is currently taking his Chemistry 30 and is enjoying the challenges and educational benefits of online learning. Justin says his motivation comes from trying to challenge himself to do his best the first time and “final marks keep me motivated to work harder. If not for the teachers at Dumont Technical Institute being willing to find different ways to teach us and step out of their comfort zone to find the way each of learns best, I would not want to try to take risks in my learning either.” He says he is grateful for the opportunities he has been given by attending school at Dumont Technical Institute.

Justin Pilon

Robin Holmes, another Dumont Technical Institute student, has always been fascinated with the arts, especially those pertaining to traditional Métis art forms including pointillism, beadwork and now, knitting. Nicolle DeGagne, the GDI Library Resource Facilitator in Prince Albert, invited all learners to join her once a week in the Gabriel Dumont Institute Library so she could share her love of knitting. Robin was one of the people who responded to the invitation and, from her first knitting project of a dish cloth; she has now made a toque and recently began knitting a pair of socks.

Learning how to knit has allowed Robin to manage chronic pain and redirect her focus by adopting new skills that enables her to be an accomplished and prolific knitter. At the same time, her desire to learn more traditional Métis art forms has become a passion and she has expressed her interest in learning how to make star quilts, bead moccasins and sewing.

Part of the reason Robin decided to return to school was “to better myself and better educate myself to go to college to become an Administrative Assistant.” She says she really likes attending classes at Dumont Technical Institute because the “teachers work one on one to help you succeed” so she finds the learning environment compliments her learning style. Robin summarizes her experience at Dumont Technical Institute by saying “the great atmosphere at the school from teachers and our surroundings shows how important the students are.” When touring Dumont Technical Institute Prince Albert, it is not uncommon to see student work on display throughout the hallways and in the classrooms, all of which contributes to an inclusive and student driven environment of learning.

Robin Holmes

Sherry Burnouf joined the Adult Basic Education Level 3 program last September and quickly showed an aptitude for Math. As she completed the L3 Math Curriculum, Angela Letendre challenged her to give Math Foundations 30 a try. Sherry took a deep breath and plunged into the curriculum with enthusiasm and a little trepidation.

A small part of her wondered if she was capable of doing Level 4 math. Fortunately, her love of numbers, computation and math theory allowed her to succeed much like a duck takes to water … it was a completely natural instinct leading her through the progress she needed to make to find success. In her words Sherry says, “I was surprised how quickly I was able to catch on. After asking a few questions, I tried to do the math on my own and it shocked me when I caught on. I never would have been able to do this if Angela hadn’t seen my potential.” Sherry is now looking forward to writing the Math Foundations 30 departmental final exam in March 2018.

Each of these learners have a personal work ethic and drive that motivates them to challenge themselves, be risk-takers and have the confidence to know when they are learning outside their comfort zone. Their instructors and program coordinator are there to support them and give them the motivation they need to accomplish the goals they set for themselves. We are very proud of the efforts our learners make every day as they strive to achieve personal success both culturally, personally and academically. We appreciate they are taking the initiative to aim higher, challenge themselves, and motivate others to take risks too. These are just a few examples of how, at Dumont Technical Institute, learners come first.

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Gabriel Dumont Institue

GDI is a Saskatchewan-based educational, employment and cultural institute serving Métis across the province

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