Charles: Send top teachers to non-traditional high schools
Dr Patrece Charles, former chief executive officer of the National Parenting Support Commission, has argued that if students transitioning to secondary-school level are to feel comfortable being placed at non-traditional high schools, the Government must hasten to improve the quality at all those institutions.
Floyd Green, state minister in the Ministry of Education, told students and parents during the recent sitting of the Grade Six Achievement Test at the Hope Valley Experimental School in St Andrew that they should not worry about placement as children could excel from whichever institution they were placed.
One method of improving all-round quality in high schools, Charles suggested, is to ensure that the best teachers are sent to the institutions considered non-traditional.
"They should put the best teachers in the non-traditional high schools, teachers who not only understand how to teach subjects, but teachers who understand how to assess the learning of students and can adjust their teaching methods," Charles told The Gleaner yesterday. "In the classrooms, it is not just about physical resources. It is about putting in teachers who understand how to teach differently," she emphasised.
Charles said that teachers at traditional high schools are more invested in the students because they are of a certain academic level, resulting in less frustration and no stigma attached to the children coming in. She explained that when a child is admitted to a non-traditional high school, it usually indicates that the student attained a certain grade. "Right away, they are stigmatised by teachers and they (the students) also place a stigma on themselves. Those students are actually the ones that should be getting more attention because they need it."
Charles pointed to the need for basic facilities at all high schools to assist learning. These include a proper library, a cafeteria, and fans in the classrooms.