Barrington Flemming, Gleaner Writer
President of the Jamaica Teachers' Association (JTA), Clayton Hall, says the education system must move quickly to implement changes to the teaching methods now being employed in a bid to arrest the rapid fall-off of boys from the classroom.
"A major problem we are having in education is the fact that we are losing our males, and the education system is not taking the required steps to address this very urgent problem," Hall said earlier this week.
Speaking with The Gleaner on Tuesday, Hall said while stakeholders have recognised that the learning styles and intelligence pattern of males differ from those of females, the education system has remained static, not taking steps to deal with the dwindling male population in schools.
"Males are kinesthetic. They want to move about more in terms of their learning pattern. Our classroom structure does not facilitate this kind of learning, so we need to cater to their learning styles. We must find a way of attracting and retaining our men in education not just as teachers, but also as students, he said.
NEW TEACHING METHODS NEEDED
Hall insisted that a new way must be found to stimulate boys to want to remain in the classroom.
"We must find a way of ensuring that we create a learning environment in which young men can do things in keeping with their learning styles. They need to be able to get up and touch things, so the use of mobile applications and technology are things we need to be investing in," Hall explained.
The JTA head also cited a breakdown in the family structure where men are not in the homes to impact the lives of boys.
Hall said the school, which is the next agent of socialisation, must fill the breach.
"We need more men in the classroom. Our boys need the socialising effect of men. The truth is our family patterns have broken down, we are not having as many fathers in the homes as we would want to, and as such, we must compensate. Society must compensate with the only aspect of socialisation that it has control over and that is the school."