JIS News

Professor at Temple University, in the United States-based Dr. James Davis, has proposed that schools look at gender-based learning in order to enhance academic achievement among boys.
He said that schools that focus on the social, cognitive, gender and academic development of boys are more successful.
“There are some things that we know about boys. their dispositions are not always the same as girls. What we need to do is focus on our pedagogy and make it more gender relevant and gender specific,” he told teachers at a workshop held yesterday (March 17) at Church Teachers’ College in Mandeville.
The session was organised by the Mutual Building Societies Foundation (MBSF) as part of its Centres of Excellence programme.
Giving some practical tips, which teachers could employ in the classroom, Dr. Davis suggested that class time should be broken up into smaller units, with structured and informed use of classroom technology and the Internet, and for the boys to design their learning plans with the aid of teachers and parents.
He urged teachers to limit classroom rules whenever possible, allow time for movement and periodic breaks, and make literacy, mathematics and science more context-relevant and identity-specific.
“Include social and global awareness in classes. Help boys to think and learn beyond themselves and their current environments. When appropriate, incorporate popular and youth-related cultural themes and encouraged them to read, write and think about important issues related to who they are, and what they experience in and out of school,” Dr. Davis said.
Principal of Green Pond High in St. James, Michael Ellis, told JIS News that coming out of the session, the institution will be employing “a more robust effort to get the male students to be high achievers”.
Teacher at Godfrey Stewart High in Westmoreland, Emily Ricketts, stated that the session was very helpful and “we gained new perspectives on how we can manipulate strategies, so that our boys can be more successful in what they do. As teachers, we have to get our boys to put to good use what we impart to them, and live up to our expectations of them,” she stated.
Assistant Programme Manager for the MBSF, Dawn Sewell-Lawson, who made a presentation on the collection and use of data in the management process, stated that “monitoring and feedback is the single most effective strategy in getting children to do better in school”.
“To have a student-centered approach in accountability at schools, we must have data, so we looked at how we can use data in our lesson planning, class room management, and improve students’ performance,” she stated.
The $100 million Centre of Excellence project, launched in February 2008, targets non-traditional and upgraded high schools, and aims to establish and maintain an ethos of institutional excellence in all aspects of the schools’ academic, administrative and operational programmes and activities.
The project is being implemented over a five-year period and during that time, the necessary support, infrastructure and equipment will be provided to the schools, to achieve the required outcomes.
Seaforth in St. Thomas; McGrath in St. Catherine; Godfrey Stewart, Westmoreland; Green Pond, St. James; and Porus and Mile Gully high schools in Manchester are currently benefitting under the project.

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