Tue | Jul 27, 2021

JMMB Joan Duncan Foundation and Mico University College sign MOU

... to offer Conversations for Greatness programme as part of teacher training curriculum

Published:Sunday | July 4, 2021 | 12:08 AM

Seated from left: Patricia Sutherland, chairman, JMMB Joan Duncan Foundation; Asburn Pinnock, president, Mico University College; Franklyn Bennett, director, School of Continuing Studies, (standing from left) Catherine Smith, CFG project manager at the Fo
Seated from left: Patricia Sutherland, chairman, JMMB Joan Duncan Foundation; Asburn Pinnock, president, Mico University College; Franklyn Bennett, director, School of Continuing Studies, (standing from left) Catherine Smith, CFG project manager at the Foundation; Kim Mair, CEO of the Foundation; and Sharon Bogues Wolfe, director, Office of Alumni and Development, Mico University College.

The JMMB Joan Duncan Foundation recently signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with Mico University College to embed its programme, Conversations for Greatness (CFG), into the teacher-training curriculum. This is expected to assist with the sustainability of a transformational mindset in the education sector through one of the key stakeholders – teachers – which is the core aim of the CFG programme.

Asburn Pinnock, president of Mico University College, lauded the partnership as an opportunity to enhance the school’s curriculum with practical tools that will equip educators to build their psycho-social skills so that they can better shape the lives of children and make a positive impact while imparting subject-matter expertise.

“(Conversations for Greatness will function) as a good support system for our teachers to build themselves, their self-confidence, and their social interactions, but I also anticipate it will also have a ‘multiplier effect’.” Pinnock said. “I anticipate that the students will respond positively to the programme and will see the impact that it can have in their classrooms and communities.”

Patricia Sutherland, chairman of the foundation, spoke about the programme.

“We are happy to partner with Mico University to replicate and sustain some of the positive outcomes achieved through the programme in our schools by starting this work of mindset change and transformation before teachers enter or re-enter the classroom.” Sutherland said, adding, “We believe that through this MOU, we will be able to better impact the teaching-learning environment, and by extension, our communities, as these teachers will be equipped with the requisite tools to help their students to unearth their greatness even as they unearth their own greatness.”

POSITIVE RESULTS

Catherine Smith, CFG project manager at the JMMB Joan Duncan Foundation, said that the over 5,400 teachers, administrators, and other support staff engaged in CFG since inception, was encouraging, while admitting that the programme had not hit all the targets set. The positive outcomes achieved include improvement in school leadership, better conflict resolution skills among administrative and academic staff and the resulting unity, healthier interpersonal dynamics, increased parental engagement, and improved staff morale.

The course will be introduced to pre-service teachers at Mico, starting in the new school year. It is rooted in ontological philosophy, that is, the study of ways of being. It will entail introspection, theoretic underpinnings of the laws and tools for transformation, and practical tools of mindset change and transformation, in addition to organisational transformation. Led by expert CFG facilitators, the 18-hour course will equip the cohort with the tools and skills needed to transform their limiting ways of thinking and being into new possibilities.

Smith, in expressing optimism about the partnership forged with Mico to include this programme as part of their curriculum, stated, “We hope that this partnership will also spur other teacher-training institutions to come on board, with Mico leading the way, so that a transformational mindset can be sustained in the Jamaican education system, starting with one of the key stakeholders: teachers.” The foundation will continue to provide the CFG programme in the form of online conversations to community groups, voluntary and service organisations, and the beneficiaries who have received support from the foundation as a way of extending the reach of the programme and building a network of change agents.