Teacher creates success guide for challenged learners
Former LASCO/Ministry of Education, Youth and Information (MOEYI) Teacher of the Year, Nickashie Hardware, led English Language teachers on a path to understanding how to 'challenge the challenged learner through disruptive innovations' at the Advancement and Competence in English (ACE)/LASCO Teachers' Conference held at York Castle High School recently.
Through her keynote address, titled, 'If You Don't Understand People, You Won't understand Learners', Hardware presented six signs every teacher should know and what every student should look for in a good teacher.
These qualities included honesty, support of risk-taking, letting your 'yes' mean 'yes' and your 'no' mean 'no', getting to know the students, having high expectations, and being a caring adult.
DELIBERATELY CHOSEN TOPIC
"I purposefully chose the topic to intrigue the attendees. You have to know people because learners are people. Everyone has an intrinsic need and if you don't fulfil those needs within your learners, they won't learn. Years ago, we used to think it's the teaching methodology that makes students learn. Now, we are finding out that students learn because of the teachers' attitude towards them and the teacher's personality and feelings about them," Hardware said.
"The six qualities are what we are going to ask the teachers to portray so that the learner can see them. They are practical steps for the teachers to engage with a learner as a human being, as a person with social needs and a need for a sense of belonging. We have found most of our disengaged students are this way because they feel that nobody sees them as a human being or as a person," Hardware said.
Collaboration is key
Sponsored by LASCO Manufacturing, the conference also sought to recommend activities for improving student performance, generate strategies for participants to use in targeting at-risk learners, and engage in communal reflections on current practices as a search for solutions to future practice.
"What Hardware has conceptualised, with the ACE/LASCO Teachers Conference, is to cement once again that collaboration is key in moving us forward. She has spearheaded an amazing programme to ensure no child is left behind, and she has so graciously extended that knowledge not only to her peers, but to other teachers and schools," said Renee Rose, brand manager, LASCO Distributors.
"We are delighted to have partnered with Hardware and the ACE family to bring about continued growth and development in our education sector through its most powerful resource, our teachers," Rose added.
LASCO has collaborated with the MOEYI to acknowledge the work of outstanding educators since 1997, recognising their impact on education in Jamaica and the school community. In 2015, Hardware became the LASCO/MOEYI Teacher of the Year, and her principal, Raymond Treasure, was the runner-up for LASCO/MOEYI Principal of the Year.
PASSION FOR CHALLENGED LEARNER
The impetus for the conference stemmed from Hardware's passion for the challenged learner, which manifested in the form of the ACE programme.
The ACE programme students are taken from mainstream learning environments and are given individualised attention. This structure also allows for student empowerment in the classroom.
"One of the wonderful things we have seen is that the young men start to blossom. It is predominantly boys in the programme. In fact, this year, of the 43 students in the programme, only eight are girls," Hardware stated.
Fifty-one teachers from Tacky High, St Hilda's Diocesan High, Aabuthnott Gallimore High, Aboukir Educational Institute, Iona High, Carron Hall High, Ocho Rios High, Steer Town Academy, William Knibb High, Marcus Garvey Technical High, Brown's Town High, Spot Valley High and York Castle High attended the conference.