Endurance Courses with the WEA
Endurance courses with the WEA offer a unique learning system based on mentoring. We recognise that our groups, comprised mainly of recovering alcoholics and addicts, suffer primarily from isolation and denial. Education is, to all practical purposes, out of reach for them. A supportive, understanding pattern is required therefore to create prepared pathways to learning.
This learning must start then, with social inclusion, rather than with the mental or physical aspects of addiction. Our residential and preparatory courses include students who have trained with us in the subjects previously, as well as in mentoring. They themselves achieve a higher level of understanding of the subjects by taking part in the process of explaining content when mentoring others. The newer students find it easier to identify with people, who they know have had the same difficulties, and appear to have achieved positive results from these simple activities. The learning, in this way, becomes accessible.
Our residential courses are safe environments where students train, and bond, with the social group represented by their mentors, many of whom they will have met at the preparatory classes. The bonding process is quite swift, often only taking a matter of hours.
Endurance courses with the WEA have been using this system for almost 20 years and many of our ex-students now work as managers, support workers and tutors in agencies and organisations throughout the North West, providing and preparing new students for our courses. They also attend residential courses as volunteers occasionally providing a higher level of mentoring and direction to our groups.
On our residential courses we include introduction to local communities and organisations where social acceptance leads to social inclusion, and therefore a greater social awareness for our students.
The principles outlined above have been honed and expanded upon in many ways. Our students discuss their own ambitions and requirements, as well as recognising and suggesting gaps in training which might be filled for the benefit of new students. In this way we feel the WEA ethic (shared by Endurance) of person-centred, adult learning within reach is fulfilled.
If you are interested in working in partnership with WEA in Cheshire/Warrington contact Andy at [email protected].