Thu | Jun 17, 2021

Letter of the Day | Change the PEP teaching approach

Published:Monday | June 24, 2019 | 12:00 AM


It is being said that doing well at the Primary Exit Profile (PEP), unlike the Grade Six Achievement Test, requires more understanding of the subject matter and better thinking and reasoning skills by students, rather than students being able to recall or guess.

These fundamental attributes that are necessary to do well at the PEP are the same attributes that are required for students to do well at Caribbean Examinations Council, Caribbean Advanced Proficiency Examination and other standard tests in which Jamaicans have not been doing well for many years compared to other Caribbean nationals.

As such, what seems necessary is not for the exam writers to be fired or the exams changed, or the testing standard lowered, or the old ways to be continued as some persons have been suggesting. Instead, there is the need for a teaching approach to be adopted that will adequately reconcile with the three domains of learning, unlike what seems to be happening at present.

In other words, and as trained teachers would know, effective teaching must be focused on three learning domains which are: the cognitive, the psychomotor, and the affective.

Just being able to recall suggests learning at the cognitive level, which is the lowest level. Psychomotor has to do with developing skills related to knowledge or what can be recalled; while affective has to do with attitudes developed relating to knowledge and skills.

This is a simple explanation of the domains which further research may extensively elucidate for those interested. Learning is not complete until all three levels are brought into play; and so, improved performance in the PEP will require that in the teaching exercise, the required focus is given to these domains of learning.

Therefore, the Ministry of Education probably needs to continue to provide additional training to teachers so that the emphasis in teaching is properly distributed where these domains of learning are concerned, and to continue to provide the necessary guidance, so that this approach is reflected in lesson planning.

Winston Foster