He was born in Pictou
County, Nova Scotia in 1862 and attended Pictou Academy which is famous
for producing scholars who have become leaders in many fields.
As the founder of Canada's first adult education institution [Frontier
College], Fitzpatrick spread his belief in education for all adults - no
matter who they were or where they lived - to the farthest frontiers of
the country. He involved men and women of all backgrounds by taking to
the manual workers a program of basic literacy, secondary and even
university education. Alfred Fitzpatrick This was long before other
educational and government institutions realized the importance of
Fitzpatrick introduced the idea of the Labourer-Teacher - that is the
instructor would work alongside the labourers during the day and teach
them in the evenings when the work was done.
He also believed that new immigrants to Canada should receive language
training and that in addition they should be helped to understand the
culture and traditions of their new home so that they would fit in
better. In order to help this Canadianization process, Fitzpatrick wrote
The Handbook for New Canadians. His vision was ahead of his time and
some ways ahead of ours. Today, in this age of technological change and
information overload, a critical and literate mind is more essential
than ever. As literacy continues to be vital to survival in Canada's
society, Frontier College and other literacy organizations carry on the
work started by Alfred Fitzpatrick.
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