Jodi-Ann Gilpin, Gleaner Writer
THE COUNTRY might have recorded lower-than-expected results in the recent Caribbean Secondary Education Certificate (CSEC) examinations, especially in mathematics and English language, but 12-year-old Shanoi Thompson stunned everyone when she got a grade one in mathematics.
The Campion College student told The Gleaner that she hesitated at first when she was offered the opportunity to sit the exam, however, her love for mathematics motivated her to try it anyway. She admitted that even though the exam turned out to be "easy" for her, the preparation process was quite difficult.
"It was a bit tiring sometimes because I had to be up by 6 every morning, and I had to do a certain number of questions before I go to school, and then when I am home in the evenings, I would do another set of questions after I completed my school assignments," she said.
The student, who enjoys surfing the Internet, watching television and hanging out with friends, had to put some of those activities on hold as she prepared. However, her parents ensured that she still reserved time to relax and have some fun.
Thompson's mother, Stacy Davies-Thompson, said it was quite easy to coach her daughter as she is self-motivated.
"Shanoi is always disciplined when it comes to schoolwork so you find that her father and myself didn't have to insist that she get her work done. At times, you find the child coming out like when she wants to hang out with her friends and have some leisure time, but for the most part she is a disciplined child," she said.
"We introduced her to the syllabus after she completed her GSAT (Grade Six Achievement Test) examinations because her father and I realised that she did very well at the subject, and then we allowed her to sit the examinations privately. Then what we did is, we had a structured timetable that she worked from," she explained.
Basic concepts vital
Pointing to this year's CSEC mathematics results, Davis-Thompson recommended that students ensure they grasp basic concepts early in order to fully understand the syllabus when they get to the CSEC level.
"For the most part, what we find is that students at the secondary level have not grasped basic calculations and basic problems, so there is going to be a problem and we cannot overemphasise the importance of having trained and qualified teachers," she said.
The 12-year-old also gave her own suggestion, saying that teachers must find ways to make mathematics exciting.
"My father always found ways to make the subject exciting, so it was even easier to understand certain concepts, so I think teachers should make the subject exciting," she said.
The mother also pointed out the importance of parents playing an integral role in their children's lives.
"GSAT was an eye-opener for me. It made me realise the importance of parents being there for their children. It is impossible for a child to manage the workload by themselves and the teachers can do so much and no more, so I plead with parents to at least show some interest," she said.
Thompson eagerly looks forward to completing her studies at Campion College and hopes to become a neurosurgeon someday.