PEAK students learn tolerance, diversity
By Wendy Mills
Staff Reporter

“Hate will only take us to destruction.”

This was the conclusion of Adela Toledo, one of 30 PEAK (Pre-Collegiate Education for Academic Knowledge) Basic Skills Learning Community students who participated ina two-day excursion to the Museum of Tolerance in Los Angeles, California, Octorber 8-9.

The PEAK program was created at Modesto Junior College in Spring 2001. It was formed to promote innovative learning, quality instruction and academic success for traditionally underrepresented students. The project provides a cluster type learning community experience for developmental students as they work intensively in three or four pre-collegiate level course to build a strong foundation in basic skills such as reading, vocabulary, writing, study skills and math. Student affective issues, such as motivation, are also addressed in these learning communities by including theme-based curriculum and adding experiential learning components.

The trip was an experiential learning opportunity based on the program’s ‘Beyond Tolerance’ theme.

The MOT visit was the basis of assignments studied before, during and after the trip, geared to measure students’ responses to the learning experiences and gauge their awareness of the issues of tolerance and diversity.

Student responses to the trip were overwhelmingly positive. They all admitted that while they had been raised to be tolerant of other people’s differences, that the trip was an eye-opening experience for them. It made them even more aware of the atrocities that have happened and will continue to happen until racism is permanently eradicated.

“The biggest impact that the MOT trip had on me was hearing about the cruelty and hardships of the Jewish Holocaust survivors,” says Adela Toledo, 23, a first generation American whose goal is to become a nurse.

Toledo’s classmate Calvin Kloak agrees. “I like learning about other people and their cultures,” says Calvin Kloak, 19, who is pursuing a career in dentistry.

It is only one of many reasons why he and other students like the PEAK program so much. Not only are they afforded the opportunity to participate in cultural events like the MOT trip, but the comfortable learning environment as well.

MJC Learning Communities encourage collaborative or cooperative learning opportunities that require students to become resources for each other, allows them to learn through a myriad of potential activities, such as group visits to museums or other cultural events and opportunities to work on projects that offer practical applications fo of course content.

“PEAK is really a phenomenal concept that makes learning more meaningful for students and faculty,” says basic skills English instructor, Annaliese Hausler-Akpovi.”It has revolutionized our approach to teaching.”

Persons interested in learning more about the PEAK program please contact the Division of Literature and Language Arts office at 575-6604.