JIS News

The Education Transformation team recently conducted several training workshops across the island for teachers preparing students for the Grade Four Literacy Intervention Programme.
“These workshops came about because we felt that if we were able to strengthen the capacity of the teachers, then it will only augur well for the students because the learning that comes out would be increased,” said Elaine Cunningham, curriculum teaching and work stream leader for the Education Transformation Team.
She explained that “we are looking at the training of teachers in the regions and we are looking at some of the reading deficits that the students have, helping the teachers to become more competent in strategies and understanding how to approach this particular activity.” She noted that, “if the teacher understands and can create pathways and avenues to address (critical) issues then the child will learn.”
Mrs. Cunningham told JIS News that the teachers, who attended the workshops, were “very enthusiastic for the most part and are really concerned about the reading levels of the students.”
She said that from the workshops, “we are really anticipating that a difference will be made in the students. We believe that if teachers are able, they will and are able to make that impact.”
In the meantime, Mrs. Cunningham said that the regional literacy coordinators are focusing on developing specific strategies for boys.
“We know that in the cohort of students, who are not performing as well, the boys tend to form a significant percentage of that population, and so we are looking at things that will attract boys. This year, in the reading programme. materials have been purchased of cricket and those kinds of sporting activities that will definitely interest the boys,” she told JIS News.
In giving a rationale for the low performance of boys, Mrs. Cunningham opined that the way lesson are taught and the conduct of classroom activities seem to be better suited for girls than boys.
“Boys, because of their whole developmental process, they tend to process things in a different way. They are attracted to things in a different way and they have to be active and sometimes the activities can be sedate,” explained Mrs. Cunningham.
She noted however that while teachers are important to the learning process, parents have a very important role to play in stimulating their children.
“Research has shown that where the child is fully stimulated that child is almost ready when he/she gets to formal school. The parents have to begin even during pregnancy to provide ways to stimulate that child so that when the child enters the formal system, that child should be able to access the curriculum except in the case where that child has serious developmental problem,” said Mrs. Cunningham.
She further advised parents to organize the home to give children space for leisure, to do chores, and to read. “The parents must understand that they also have a role to play and to partner with the school and to support what is happening in the school,” Mrs. Cunningham stated.

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