York College trainers hone KC teachers' skills
As the country continues to struggle with the underperformance of several schools, a few institutions are now taking matters into their own hands to ensure that teachers are fully equipped with the necessary skills to effectively deliver in the classroom.
In keeping with its mandate to have continuous professional development sessions with its teachers, Kingston College recently joined the ranks of these institutions that are placing the focus on their teachers' performance.
Teachers of the North Street-based all-boys school were recently engaged in a three-day workshop with educators from the York Centre for Education and Community (YCEC) at the York University in Toronto, Canada.
The organisers said the workshop was geared towards equipping teachers and administrators with "effective teaching practices grounded within the social and cultural context of schooling in Jamaica".
Workshops to continue
Dave Myrie, principal of Kingston College, said such workshops would be an ongoing fixture at the school, as it is important for the educators under his charge to be fully equipped with all the necessary skills to deliver.
"This is something that we feel will add great value to the students, as these sessions will give teachers a chance to share their experiences and learn from each other, because no one teacher has all the knowledge, and the seminar will cover a number of issues," Myrie noted.
The seminars looked at a plethora of issues ranging from strategies for the teaching of adolescent males and helping teachers to identify and address those students who are underperforming.
Dr Carl James, director of YCEC, said the discussions with the educators were fruitful and more schools should consider implementing such professional development seminars.
"This has been a great experience, giving the teachers a chance to express the challenges they are facing and using this space to help each other find solutions to these challenges from each other," James said.
He said they were looking at expanding the programme to include more specialised expertise, including the development of relevant assessment tools and the integration of technology in the classrooms.
Dr Andrea Davis, associate professor and the interim director of the Centre for Research on Latin America and the Caribbean, herself a Jamaican, told The Gleaner that workshops like the one delivered at Kingston College should be replicated in several schools across the island.
"A lot of the problems facing our schools are cultural and sometimes unique to their own schools. So, there's no one-size-fits-all solution, and programmes should be tailored to fit these institutions," she said, recommending that the education ministry look into delivering such programmes across the island.