JIS News

The 63 Mathematics Specialists who form part of the National Mathematics Programme, journeyed to their respective Regions on August 18, to begin the groundwork for their duties, following a two-week intensive training course in Kingston.
“As of Monday, August 18, they moved into their Regions, but the training will continue and in that period, their skills as it relates to running workshops and actually teaching lessons will be honed over that period of time when they are in a smaller group setting,” National Mathematics Co-ordinator, Tamika Benjamin, told JIS News in an interview.
Mrs. Benjamin explained that the specialists were trained in a number of areas. “We focussed on both professional as well as personal development, so some of the sessions they were involved in, included things related to their professional image and speech. We have done sessions dealing with behaviour change, their own attitudes and philosophies about education and they did some sessions that were really geared toward their new posts,” she explained.
According to the Co-ordinator, the training addressed areas that needed special attention from the teachers. “The sessions included topics on data analysis; sessions relating to teaching specific areas of the curriculum at the primary level, in terms of best practices and those areas that we are seeing from our data showing weaknesses with numbers in particular, so there were sessions on fractions, place value, measurements and estimations, and we have done sessions on plain and solid geometry; so those are some of the areas they were engaged in,” she noted.
In addition, the Co-ordinator pointed out that the areas of training resulted from trends seen in the primary school examinations.
“We are seeing weaknesses, particularly in numbers, so issues related to place value and fractions are actually the areas that our data shows from the preliminary results of the Grade 4 test this year, GSAT and the Grade 3 diagnostic tests. Those instruments are all showing weaknesses, so we are trying to ensure they are equipped to provide the level of support the teachers will need, because those are the concepts that are usually introduced at the beginning of the school year,” Mrs. Benjamin informed.
She added that as the school year progresses, “the curriculum will be used as a guide to ensure that the specialists’ skills are up to scratch, so they can provide the level of support that the teachers will need in the other areas.”