CLC Summer School Report – Debbie Rebeiro

Parliamentary Procedure and Public Speaking

1st CLC Weeklong Women’s Summer School

CAW Family Education Centre, Port Elgin, Ontario

July 14-19, 2013 

Report by: Debbie Rebeiro, RVP CUPE National Office, Ottawa

This was my first CLC Labour Educational, my first time at the CAW Centre in Port Elgin and my first time in beautiful Port Elgin. Needless to say my weeklong stay at the Centre and overall experience was fabulous.

We had started the course with an opening plenary on Sunday (July 14) evening after which we broke into our respective course groups. Patty Clancy and Kelly Hayes were the two instructors assigned to my course. The first part of the course was about understanding the role of a chairperson in a meeting, and about how we needed to develop a working understanding of the rules of Parliamentary Procedure and to develop skills in chairing a meeting using Bourinot’s Rules of Order. To develop some facilitation skills in preparing for and running less formal meetings.

The highlight of my week was when Barbara Byers, Executive Vice-President, CLC came in to our class-room as special facilitator and co-facilitated for half a day on Tuesday morning. She helped us with positive energy and a safe place to practice our skills in chairing a meeting and resolving a motion. In pairs we each had a turn to participate in this practical. Barb was instrumental in giving us the confidence we needed to do this.

The next day (on Wednesday) we had a presentation by Alex Johnstone, a Hamiltonian, public school board trustee, and a New Democrat, on Public Speaking, which was the second part of our course.

The week went by quickly and each day was filled with positive energy, friendship and loads of new skills that we learnt and practiced.

The following are some processes and skills that we practiced for the first part of course:

– Process for chairing a meeting

– Adopting and passing a motion

– Being an effective chairperson

(To be organized, be a good listener, being focused and respectful, being impartial, punctual, knowledgeable, confident and inclusive)

For the second part of the course ‘Public Speaking’ we covered the following:

– Wrote a speech – three minute long

– Gave our speech (either in front of class or in private)

– Speech was video-taped

– Video was played in class-room

– We had a chance to critique each one’s speech with written positive comment and suggestion.

– Comment and suggestion was collected and distributed to each participant

In addition to the course learning:

– Morning/Evening plenary

– Great presentations given by union activists

– Social time / camp-fires / friendships

– Sisterhood / solidarity / sharing

The CAW facility by Lake Huron is one of the best with friendly staff, great dining and comfortable dwelling. Beautiful sunsets mark the location and a walk on the beach made it all so special and spectacular.

I would recommend participation at future CLC Summer Schools, CAW Centre in Port Elgin and hope that more members have an opportunity to attend.

When we learn new skills we strengthen the union. When we share our information we build the movement.            

Thank you for the opportunity given to me. I hope to use my knowledge in carrying out union work with COPE 491.

In solidarity!

Debbie Rebeiro