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JIS News

Approximately 350 special needs students islandwide will be awarded for their efforts in the recent literacy championship, hosted by the Special Education Unit of the Ministry of Education (MOE).
Education Officer in the Special Education Unit of the Ministry of Education, Dr. Hixwell Douglas made the announcement on June 21, during an interview with JIS News.
“On June 24 we are having an awards ceremony which is culminating a one-year activity looking at literacy development in the seven of our government special education units,” Dr. Douglas said, while noting that the intervention was structured around the grade one to three curriculum.
“What happens each year is that teachers in these seven government special education units choose a component from the grade one to three integrated curriculum and focus on that area with a theme and use it as a way of improving literacy development among our children with special needs in these units,” the Education Officer said.
According to Dr. Douglas, the participants usually make marked improvements as a result of the literacy championship.
“Each year we find that the children make significant movement and these movements are really an indication that with the use of the diagnostic prescriptive approach in teaching reading and numeracy, that children make significant movement either within grade level or outside of the grade level,” he pointed out, while indicating that the awards ceremony is aimed at celebrating these children and their teachers.
“We are having this ceremony to celebrate those children who have made movements and to also celebrate with the teachers who worked with them, because the teachers used innovative methods of teaching to get these children to succeed in their literacy. At the end of this, we will have a champion unit, champion students and champion teachers,” Dr. Douglas noted.
He explained that the literacy championship focused on children competing against themselves, using fun activities.
“We are trying to get students to compete against self and see how far that student can move. and so we don’t want to look at it as a competition. In real terms, what we want is for the children to challenge themselves and see how they can move ahead and in so doing we use a lot of fun filled activities, art and craft, dance and music,” the Education Officer said.
He said that the participants not only develop academically during the championship, but socially as well.
“We also find that the literacy championship helps our students to develop a more positive self esteem, greater level of enthusiasm, particularly with the creative approaches used by the teachers.so we see academic movement, social skill development and we see higher levels of motivation on the part of our students,” Dr. Douglas informed.
The awards ceremony will take place in the auditorium of the Salvation Army School for the Blind, beginning at 9:30 a.m.
The Special Education Unit was established in 1989 with a mandate to secure appropriate opportunities for students with special needs in the mainstream as well as in special schools.