Continuing Education + Job Training // Publishing since 1999
Love of Learning

The Founding of Learning Curves in 1998

By WENDY TERRY - February 27 2024
The Founding of Learning Curves in 1998

In 1998, Wendy and Eugenia researched Toronto and the Greater Toronto Area, to see if a community newspaper for adults going back to school would be useful. In January 1999, Learning Curves was launched This year, 2025 will be our 25th year of publishing Learning Curves. 

At that time Eugenia was living in Toronto.

We had a good time sharing memories like seeing the rabbits running around behind Humber College campus. Then there was the walk along Lake Ontario shoreline in Oshawa. We have stayed in touch over the years, via email but June 15th was a morning spent in person with quite a few hugs and tears. 

Learning Curves is published by the Workers’ Educational Association of Canada.  See www.learningcurves.org. Workers education was an adult education movement in the early 1900’s, fostering adults access to university level education. Today theses association can be found in the UK where they started, the Nordic countries. New Zealand, Australia and… by searching the web use WEA you can find these associations. 

The WEA of Canada, founded in 1918 has two purposes that support publishing Learning Curves: 4.03 To call attention to, and spread the knowledge of, the facilities for education ; 4.04 To publish and, to assist in publishing journals, and other literature. 

I first starting working for the WEA in 1983 and in 1984 we founded the Adult Learning Line as in purpose 4.O3 to call attention to, and spread the knowledge of, the facilities for education.  In 1997 we ran out of funding for the Adult Learning Line and its accompanying community information sessions. Given that Karen Ferguson, coordinator for the Adult Learning Line had a degree in Journalism. maybe we could fund such an information service through advertising support from education providers, we set out to found Learning Curves, a community paper for adults going back to school  

By this time, I was a member of the WEA Board of Directors having quit paid work for the WEA in 1989. I always had an interest in adults having access to learning information as I had spent two years getting my Gr. 12 in order take courses at Ryerson (now TMU) not understanding what mature student meant. I thought it meant my mother and I was 21, and out of school for two years which qualified me as a mature student. Now educational providers add that definition to the term mature student. But I had spent two years for naught. Many adults in Toronto and the GTA are newcomers and new to our system of adult education. Providers promote each of their programs but there is no service which gives an overview of all the providers, which Leaning Curves often does in articles and charts.

Also we felt learning Curves would gave a sense of visible community for adult learners. When you think of education you think kids and youth but adults are a key part of this community. Learning Curves, a community newspaper for adults going back to school in Toronto and the GTA, makes this adult learning community visible. 

For 24 years Learning Curves has depended on volunteers as well as advertising from the adult education provider community. The get us through COVID donors from individual supporters.  If you go to our website, www.learningcurves.org Winter 2018 issue Page 10, 11 you will see a Centre Spread picturing many of these supporters. Volunteers,and donors who came together for our 100th Issue Celebration get together. 


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