- LASCO/Ministry of Education Youth and Information (MoEYI) Teacher of the Year for 2018/2019, Amorkard Brown, is on a mission to transform the lives of teenagers through his brainchild initiative, the National First Form Science Extravaganza. The event occurs annually in the month of May.
- This one-day event, exposes students and teachers to project based learning which Mr. Brown says is an effective approach to modern day instructional delivery.
- Mr. Brown shares that the Extravaganza started as an inspiration from one of his class projects in 2016 which was based on Energy.
LASCO/Ministry of Education Youth and Information (MoEYI) Teacher of the Year for 2018/2019, Amorkard Brown, is on a mission to transform the lives of teenagers through his brainchild initiative, the National First Form Science Extravaganza. The event occurs annually in the month of May.
This one-day event, exposes students and teachers to project based learning which Mr. Brown says is an effective approach to modern day instructional delivery.
Mr. Brown shares that the Extravaganza started as an inspiration from one of his class projects in 2016 which was based on Energy.
“I wanted to bring the topic alive by using an approach that would allow the students to relate to the significance and application of energy forms in their day to day life and … I thought of allowing them to develop model-sized structures of houses, cars, and household fixtures using an alternative energy form,” he tells JIS News in a recent interview.
“In short, the quality of the pieces were so impressive that I had to ask my principal for a day to display the students’ work as a grand outdoor classroom,” says Mr. Brown.
In 2016, the theme was, Taking the Lead in the Energy League. In 2017, the event was hosted under the theme, The People Want Wata and in 2018, the theme was, Youth in Action, No Waste Reaction. Mr. Brown explains that this year, his team explored ways in which they can mitigate the effects of natural disasters on the physical environment under the theme, Making Jamaica the Home of Climate-Resilient Infrastructures.
“The reviews over the years get better and better as I use the weaknesses, strengths and opportunities gathered from each sitting to inform decisions for the next staging,” says Mr. Brown.
In the first staging, of the event, three schools participated; Munro College, Hampton School and Bishop Gibson High School for Girls. The second and third staging saw the inclusion of additional schools. This year, participation came from 10 secondary level educational institutions.
Mr. Brown, whose academic background is in Science Education (Botany and Zoology), is on a continuous quest to positively engage students through educational activities that will encourage creativity in the process of learning.
As a young man, he grew up in a low socio-economic situation and worked assiduously to become a high achiever. One of his mantras is that, “one’s success is not dependent on their situation.” With this view, Mr. Brown uses his role as a teacher to inspire his students to aim high.
“As the event gets better, it is my wish to extend the project-based learning exercise to other subject areas across schools in Jamaica. This will allow students to engage in more investigative learning, research, and to develop an appreciation for practical and written projects,” Mr. Brown tells JIS News.
He says, “…it will also expose students to a different form of assessment at this level; similar in nature to the school-based assessment done at the higher grade levels.”
With an endorsement from The Ministry of Education Youth and Information, Mr. Brown’s initiative receives support in the dissemination of information across the school regions. The Ministry also provides technical and professional support for the smooth execution of the day’s events.
This youth advocate is the recipient of several awards for excellence in leadership including the Prime Minister’s National Youth Award for Excellence in 2013.
He is a senior teacher at Munro College in St. Elizabeth where he teaches Biology to students sitting the Caribbean Secondary Education Certificate (CSEC) and the Caribbean Advanced Proficiency Exam (CAPE) assessments. He is the author of an educational book; CAPE Biology Practical Handbook, and a Master Teacher for Pedagogy as awarded by the Jamaica Teaching Council.