Courses go on the rails as Capilano gets training

November 14, 1997

THERE will be fewer assignments hastily finished on the way to college for Vancouver students now that their commuter train is to double as a classroom.

Capilano College has decided to put to good use a 55-minute commuter journey from a Vancouver suburb by offering classes on the "Brain Train".

The train is a partnership between the college and the West Coast Express train company. It runs through British Columbia's Fraser Valley and is now a school for commuters wanting to learn Spanish, public speaking or how to build up business sales.

The weekly non-credit courses are taught by an instructor, who writes on a marker board at the front of a reserved section of the double-decker trains.

"I have to keep my legs apart like a sailor," admits Spanish instructor Kirk Mattson, who finds the lectures physically demanding. "Idon't know if I could do this every day." He begins his class nine minutes after boarding the 7.15am train and continues talking at the final downtown stop.

Kevin Regan always wanted to learn Spanish but was putting off taking a night course.

After seeing a brochure advertising these classes, the provincial government employee said he realised he could not put off enrolment any longer. "I was going to be on the train anyway." Now, along with his nine classmates, he was repeating Spanish greetings at his second of 12 classes.

Mr Mattson is nonchalant about the offbeat style of instruction. "Going to the student makes sense,"he said. "This classroom just happens to be moving."

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