Approximately 300 educators from primary and secondary schools across the island recently participated in three one-day workshops analysing the interplay of mathematics, sports and science in education.
Led by noted American statistician and researcher Dr Rebecca Klemm, participants received practical tips on how to improve student engagement and stimulate increased learning of the respective subject areas at both educational levels.
With ongoing concerns among local education officials on students' underperformance in mathematics and science, the United States Embassy in Kingston, the sponsor of the workshop, deliberately targeted these subject areas and matched them with Jamaicans' athletic prowess to develop the concept of the workshop.
The targeted sporting fields were track and field, basketball and football, three of the most popular games locally. Topics included the pendulum effect of arms and legs in sprinting, speed measurement, the balance of force and reaction, observance of the arc and parabolic differences at the basketball free throw line.
Dr Joyce Graham Royal, education officer for physical education and sport with the Ministry of Education, said the workshop was "comprehensive and concise with lots of meaningful content and methodology presented in a way that will make the process of learning and teaching enjoyable and fun".
She added: "There was application of many concepts in a simple and creative way."
The teachers expressed the importance of the element of integration across all three disciplines and affirmed that they plan on using the strategies demonstrated, especially in helping those students who are heavily challenged academically.
Klemm, who was impressed with the island's teachers, described participants as eager, proffering lively discussions in each session.
The workshops were held from August 13-15 at the University of the West Indies, Mona-Western Jamaica Campus, G.C. Foster College, and the University of Technology. They closely followed the US Embassy's Early-Childhood Education Workshop, held in July, which prepared teachers from the island's basic and infant schools, which feed into USAID-funded primary schools. Teachers were trained on the use of the Crayons Count kits, which will contain a host of learning tools for use at the early-childhood level.