Teachers lost in the system, students suffer
THE EDITOR, Sir:
I am an early-childhood specialist with a special love for teaching mathematics at that level. I am very distressed when I observe college students on teaching practice who very clearly have no understanding of how young children think.
I looked at the present early-childhood curriculum for five-year-olds and ask myself who is training these teachers to use this curriculum. Let me give you an idea of a few lines taken from the curriculum for the third term. Children should be able to:
Count and solve own math problems.
Count in ones and twos up to 100.
Make bundle materials in groups of five, 10, 20 to 100.
Use the number line appropriately for activities that include sequencing numbers, skip counting, adding and subtracting.
Combine and partition sets to solve complex problems.
Construct and interpret simple pictographs and bar graphs.
Add and subtract with and without regrouping.
Use all Jamaican currency appropriately.
Use standard and non-standard units to measure length, height, perimeter, and capacity; use a variety of scales to weigh.
Is there any wonder that basic-school children enter grade one not being able to match a set of numbers with the corresponding numeral?
Let us begin to look at numeracy and early literacy at the early-childhood level and commission the teachers' colleges and those who are responsible for in-service training and supervision to recognise that we must begin at the beginning.
Teachers teach as they were taught. They expect children to accept the facts without asking any questions, because teachers themselves do not know the reasons for what they teach.
Port Maria, St Mary