There is much to learn from a seasoned custodial professional
January 20, 2011
PHILADELPHIA — A Swarthmore College program pairs students and staff members to teach and learn from each other, according to The Philadelphia Inquirer.
On the surface, Adam Bortner and Donzella "Donnie" Franklin appear unlikely friends: He''s 21 years old, she''s 45; he''s a sociology and anthropology major at Swarthmore College, she''s working her twentieth year as a custodian there; he hails from suburban Baltimore, she grew up in hardscrabble Chester; he''s white, she''s black, the article stated.
Franklin and Bortner are partners in Swarthmore College''s unusual Learning for Life program, entering its eleventh year, which has brought together hundreds of students and staff members in a two-way swap of skills and knowledge that promises to break down barriers of race, class and campus hierarchy, one partnership at a time, the article noted.
"It''s almost like an exchange of gifts," said Diane Downer Anderson, the associate dean of academic affairs at Swarthmore who helped establish the program, known as L4L on campus.
According to the article, Swarthmore staff, who work in environmental and dining services or facilities, have taught students to cook Jamaican recipes, understand the rules of football and speak Vietnamese, while students have reciprocated with tutelage on how to use computers, master algebra and write poetry.
Initially, the program was conceived to foster adult literacy, but it quickly expanded to encompass more than comfort with reading basics, the article added.