Training Specialist supports professional development

Decoda Literacy Solution’s vision is a British Columbia where everyone has the literacy skills they need.

“I believe literacy is a key that opens doors for people, it has the potential to unlock better job opportunities, better health, and better life overall,” says Jade Chan, Decoda’s new Training Specialist.

As BC’s only province-wide literacy organization, Decoda provides resources, training and funding for community-based literacy programs and initiatives in over 400 communities.

Jade’s work supports professional development for literacy practitioners in the field and learning resources, which includes:

  • developing curriculum and learning materials for literacy professionals and learners;
  • establishing professional development opportunities for the BC literacy network, such as virtual and in-person training and the biennial Decoda Literacy Conference;
  • collaborating to develop, publish and market The Westcoast Reader print newspaper and online materials for learners.

Education, experience and enthusiasm

“Jade is a teacher and administrator who can connect to learners of all ages and backgrounds,” says Margaret Sutherland, Executive Director at Decoda. “She has the education, experience and enthusiasm to facilitate meaningful training and professional development for the literacy field.”

After graduating from Simon Fraser University with a linguistics degree and a TESL certificate, Jade taught English to new immigrants at S.U.C.C.E.S.S.

“I wanted to further understand the pedagogy of teaching, so I went back to school for a Bachelor of Education, with a minor in Special Education,” she says. “Teaching K-12 children was a completely different experience than teaching adults, though both are rewarding in their own ways. I taught in the public school system for a short period of time before becoming a Program Manager at Sylvan Learning. Soon after, I became the Centre Director and took on the responsibility of managing the operations, programs and staff.”

While working at Sylvan, she was also teaching Foundation Language Arts (FLA) night classes at the Richmond School District.

“Coincidentally, before joining Decoda, I had always incorporated The Westcoast Reader in my classroom to help students develop literacy while learning about the West Coast lifestyle.”

Inspired by mom: work hard, learn, lifelong learner

Jade says she is inspired by her mother’s strong work ethic and commitment to learning and teaching. When Jade was a young child, her parents immigrated to Canada from Hong Kong and had to learn English and Canadian culture.

“My mom was a hard worker in every way, and even though it was a challenge being in a new environment, she took any moment she could to learn and adapt. Even with very limited comprehension of the English language, she used to read the newspaper daily and look up words that she didn’t know in the dictionary.”

Jade’s mom was originally an English language learner at S.U.C.C.E.S.S. and later became a volunteer to help other immigrants settle in Canada.

“Through my mom, I’ve learned how important it is to learn and embrace language and to help and encourage others to do the same. She’s my role model.”

Jade is fluent in English, Cantonese and Mandarin, and she has taught them all.

Engaging, interactive learning

Jade’s teaching style is engaging and interactive. Her experience teaching both adults and children has shown the importance of getting to know learners.

“I’m more like a facilitator in an education setting. It’s interactive. I love to learn and get to know the people that I teach!”

A love of travel has also helped her to gain an appreciation for different cultures, customs, languages, and the people who live in those environments around the world.

“Learners of all ages need to have fun, engage and learn from each other. I try to incorporate activity-based tasks; rather than providing lectures and direct answers to questions, learners are encouraged to involve themselves to seek clarifications,” she says. “For adult learners, it’s more practical. We might take a trip to the grocery store to apply real-life learning. With kids, they need more play-based learning such as exploring problem-solving skills with board games. I always try to find out my learners’ interests and work that into my lesson plans.”

Professional development for literacy practitioners

Decoda provides free webinars and workshops to help practitioners upgrade their professional skills.

Jade will design and coordinate training through webinars such as:

  • how to use The Westcoast Reader as a teaching tool,
  • introduction to the Adult Literacy Database,
  • instructional strategies for reading and writing,
  • and the Canadian Adult Reading Assessment (CARA).

Ready to start learning? 

Decoda’s online webinars and workshops let you work on professional development wherever you are.

Check the Decoda training page regularly for future webinars and workshops.

The Decoda Literacy Conference brings together BC’s provincial literacy network for interactive, dynamic and informative learning sessions every two years. Attendees include leaders in adult learning, key members of the public and private sector, and literacy practitioners working in community-based literacy programs for people of all ages.

The next conference is scheduled as an in-person event March 2-4, 2022, with the theme “Literacy connects us!”

A tutor today and always

Throughout her career, and continuing today, Jade is a private English tutor.

Jade is a passionate educator with a lifelong learning mindset. She would like to continue teaching and learning even after she has retired.

When she’s not learning or teaching, she keeps busy with outdoor activities like hiking, cycling and kayaking. She’s been a regular runner all her life and participates in the annual Vancouver Sun Run.

On the weekends, Jade is usually either painting watercolours or exploring the outdoors with her family. She is also an indoor plants enthusiast. She has a total of 23 plants at her home, for now.

For more information on Decoda’s training webinars, workshops and the literacy conference, visit the Decoda website or contact Jade at jchan@decoda.ca or 604-681-4199 x422.

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