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Open your minds to new techniques, Foster-Allen urges teachers

Published:Monday | August 20, 2018 | 12:00 AMChristopher Thomas/Gleaner Writer
Elaine Foster-Allen


Elaine Foster-Allen, former permanent secretary in the Ministry of Education, wants teachers to utilise the latest available resources to educate their students, while opening their own minds to new teaching and learning techniques.

"If teachers are expected to prepare students to become lifelong learners, the Teaching and Learning International Survey tells us that they need to learn and develop throughout their careers," said Foster-Allen. "Teachers not only need to be able to use the latest tools and technologies with their students, but they also need to take advantage of the latest research of learning and practice."

Foster-Allen made the appeal while giving the keynote address at yesterday's opening session of the three-day Jamaica Teachers' Association's (JTA) 54th annual conference in Montego Bay, St James, which is being staged under the theme 'Promoting the Teaching Profession: A Beacon of Hope and Inspiration to our Nation'.

In calling for teachers to be more open to the latest teaching tools, Foster-Allen cited the lack of understanding some educators have of the Primary Exit Profile (PEP), which is to replace the Grade Six Achievement Test next year.

"I have been talking to people about PEP, and some teachers are still saying 'a wha dat?'" said Foster-Allen."They don't understand, and that is because they were not at the table, and are mentally enslaved to a system that says 'this is how it must go all the time'," said Foster-Allen.

She also used the opportunity to address the issue of educators being their students' only instructors of good values.

"The call for schools to teach values, attitudes and civics has been ongoing for several years. While there is virtue in this call, teachers cannot be left as the sole purveyors of values and attitudes," said Foster-Allen. "Values are taught and caught from parents, church leaders, and private-sector leaders."