Wed | Aug 16, 2017

Teachers urged to develop culture of service in the classroom

Published:Tuesday | November 1, 2016 | 11:00 AM

Management and organisational development specialist Carole Rowe has urged educators to infuse a culture of service in the teaching and learning process.

"We must begin to enable the movement of service into the education system and into all our schools," she said, while delivering the keynote address at the first National Symposium on the Teaching Profession put on by the Jamaica Teaching Council (JTC).

Rowe challenged the notion characterising students as internal customers and asked teachers present at the symposium to think of students as external customers deserving of the highest level of service.

Using the analogy of a ship being raised by a loch as it goes through a canal, Rowe argued that the quality of students' performance can only be raised by the quality of service delivered by teachers.

While noting that the ability of a teacher to deliver content is important, she added that being service focused is also critical to the success of improving student achievement.

"If teachers become more service focused in the classroom, it would improve students' attitudes and their willingness to serve and do well ... . Teachers have a tremendous amount of power and influence over students," she said.

LEAD BY EXAMPLE

Pointing out that service begins at the top, the consultant told educators at the symposium that principals have to lead by example if they want their schools to be service oriented.

"Principals have to set the tone in creating a culture that compels great service. The service-oriented principal is also required to drive service excellence throughout the school and this will result in developing and maintaining exceptional relationships will everyone in the school," she said.

According to Rowe, school administrators must begin to see their students as clients who are deserving of exceptional service.

"To serve our students is to serve humanity. As service providers in the schools, we touch millions of lives every year, and I do not believe that there is any other entity that touches as many lives as education," she added.

She further advocated for teachers to begin an epidemic of kindness through service to their students.

"Just think about it, we as teachers can become weapons of mass construction in the classroom and in the world at large because we are constructing lives in the schools and whatever we construct is what we get later on," she said.

Pointing to the service values of kindness, listening, empathy, gratitude, responsibility and persuasion, the management consultant asked educators to practise these at every level of the education sector.

andre.poyser@gleanerjm.com