Teacher Improvement: Way to National Development

February 2, 2011

The requirements of society and the increased demand placed on teachers especially in this time brings to the forefront the urgent requirements on enhancing the position of teachers.

We have seen the Minister seek to separate Jamaican teachers and hire foreign teachers in the same week.

We have seen a comparison of teachers in Jamaica with their counterparts in Trinidad and Barbados in terms of student performance. Those statements are like a bikini; what it reveals is exciting but what it conceals is vital.

The minister failed whether advertently or not to bring to the table the following points:
1. Trinidad and Barbados both have better teacher-pupil ratios than Jamaica.
2. Trinidad and Barbados pays for the education of their teachers to the tertiary level. We have not funded the loan pool for the Teacher Revolving Loan Programme.

3. Trinidad and Barbados both spend a greater percentage of their GDP on education.

4. Both Trinidad and Barbados spend more on education as a percentage of their total government spending. and

5. What of an assessment of value added in relation to the input versus the output.

Teachers in Jamaica instead of being reprimanded should be lauded for the work they do and the results they get under the circumstances.

Friends let us now say “TEACHERS FIRST” as we are the guardian of the future and the architect of tomorrow.

Today’s Thought

September 14, 2010

When others put obstacles before me, I delight in overcoming them not to prove to them that I can do it, but to continue to define who I am and what I am capable of regardless of the pessimism that presents it self even through predictions of my peers.

Under 40 and forging ahead.

September 12, 2010

These young principals walked into the classrooms at their schools with big ideas. They were not satisfied with just taking on the mandate of educating the nation’s children. They wanted change – in attitude towards education. They wanted change towards the ruinous stero-type of males being underachievers.

But there are barriers.

Change

Revamp male education

Clayton Hall, 35, principal of Spanish Town High School:

“For me, my primary focus would have been to dispel the notion that males are underachievers in education. I was convinced then and, even more convinced now that they learn differently and that they learn at a different pace but if given the required situation, they will be equal achievers. We need to lift the educational attainment of males.

“The greatest barrier to that is actually male perception because our males are erroneously socialised into believing that it is fashionable to be uneducated. Much of the things that say man or macho are anti-education. Also, existing notions of class control and acceptable classroom behaviour run anathema to male educational development.

“What we need is greater documentation of participant research. More documentation of instances where new modes of operation have been tried in the classroom and their successes documented. There is a very low volume of documentation of best practices; especially of classroom activities. These workable concepts will get large-scale buy-in. Any change in education must begin in the teachers’ colleges. How we approach male education has to be totally revamped. What we have not realised is that all our prime ministers, save for the lone female, had single-sex high-school education.”

Question everything

Gregory King, 33, principal of Chandlers’ Pen Primary & Junior High, Clarendon:

Aimed to make every child self-aware. “By that I mean, not be gullible, but to question things with the intention for positive change. I’ve had personal experiences where I had questions lingering in my mind, but because of how I was raised, I had no choice but to accept certain things. This has somehow delayed my sojourn to success and I think that if I was able to question those things, I might have been in a different field today.”

The culture of the society poses the greatest challenge, however. “For me, we are not self-reliant. The adults are gullible in some ways; meaning that they accept a lot of things without even knowing the reason for such things. For example, some of them can’t find a job and their idea of income is getting employed rather than creating the means of employment. Another thing is that they are highly resistant to change.”

He said a child with an inquisitive mind will keep enquiring and the more they enquire the more, they will discover. “We need to remove the limitations we have placed on ourselves and our children.”

Focus on what works

Norman Allen, 38, principal of Bois Content All-Age School, St Catherine:

“I hoped to change the attitude of students to learning and the attitude of our teachers towards the understanding of how children really learn. We have to understand as educators that not all children learn in the same way. And if we are going to build a quality society, then we must do the necessary research and necessary investigation to determine what it will take to get our students learning at their highest level. We need to get children to focus on what they really want. We have a way of deciding for them what it is that they want and never really asking them what they want.

“Resources are the greatest barriers we face because we have to understand that these children were born in a different age and era and what worked for us won’t necessarily work for them.

“We are in a technological age and we can’t hide from it. We need to provide the children with necessary resources that they need to be all that they can be. The society needs to take a new approach to how our children are educated. The parents need to understand that they need to play a greater role in their children’s education.

Wayne Mullings, 34, principal of Austin Primary School in Myersville, St Elizabeth

I wanted to contribute to education. I had a wonderful history teacher, Mr Evan Latty from STETHS. He was my mentor and was the person who influenced me to enter teaching because I wanted to be a lawyer but he thought I should go into teaching which I did. I want to help others to find their calling just as my teacher helped me.

I think over time, the level of indiscipline in the classroom has evolved, so I’m not getting the quality students I had when I started teaching and so I find a lot of the time that should be spent imparting knowledge/content is being spent addressing indiscipline.

It’s a three-pronged approach. We need greater collaboration from parents. The discipline really starts at home. If parents play a greater role in their child’s socicultural upbringing then we find that the level of indiscipline we are exposed to in the classroom would be substantially reduced which would allow the teachers to mould the young minds. The other approach is that children on a whole ought to consider education a greater priority.

Educate for life

Michelle Robinson, principal of Mountain View Primary School:

For example, had the sense that education was undervalued and her mission was transformation.

“The way we view education, I think for most persons, it is something we just do.” That is why, she said, “our students are so mechanical. We are not training them to apply knowledge. We seem to want them to regurgitate what they have been taught.”

But she suggested, “Each person must make education a part of our essence, who we are, so that we can grow and develop.”

Robinson sees the education system as the basic barrier to change as it is merely geared towards manufacturing students. “The students sit exams, pass exams and we send them out into the world. It is not a place where we are educating students so that they can become better persons, rather it is about passing exams so you can go out and get a job. It is robotic.

“And because we are manufacturing students to pass these exams, those students who learn differently are left out.”

Her solution: People in the system who recognise the need to change how education is viewed should identify the change needed. “It sounds simplistic but this is basically what we need to do.”

June 10, 2010

President-Elect 2010 (JTA)

Our Views

May 11, 2010

http://www.facebook.com/l.php?u=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.jamaicaobserver.com%2Fletters%2FTeachers-do-a-helluva-lot_7599871&h=4cf06

Visit this link and judge for yourself.

The Mission 2010

April 26, 2010

Awarded for Service

1)      Strengthening the JTA by improving the communication links between the leadership and membership.

a)      Initiate the use of interactive web based technology to enhance the interface between teachers in the schools and the leadership on the association.

b)      Use data contained in the newly established database to plan programmes for teachers targeting a specific demography.

c)       Review the funding arrangement for District Associations with the view of enhancing their sustainability.

d)      Creating a forum at the District level with members of the association’s leadership cadre where views and issues of the teacher can be aired.

2)      Continue to agitate for improved conditions of service and benefits for teachers.

a)      Make clear and remain steadfast in our demand for funds owed to us as per our agreement.

b)      Seek actuarial assistance in calculating the actual value of the extra-curricular activities so that it can be adequately used in our salary negotiations.

c)       Preempt the existing economic and educational environment so as to remain proactive in our negotiations for improved benefits.

d)      Agitate for the creation of a salary scale in public education for the Guidance Counselor.

3)      Enhance the educational opportunities of special needs students through;

a)      In-service training for teachers to facilitate the identification and treatment of students with special needs (remedial or gifted).

b)      Foster the creation of Special Education units in clusters across the island.

4)      The promotion of the JTA as the premier professional organization in Jamaica by highlighting its history and achievements.

5)      Agitate for the implementation of minimum standards in schools.

6)      Increase the input of the JTA in issues of national importance not confined to education but which affect teachers and our clients.

7)      Ensure that teacher safety is placed in the foreground of any deliberation on safety in schools.

8)      Agitate for the swift implementation of residential time-out centers to deal with chronic cases of indiscipline among students.

Regeneration and Renewal

April 12, 2010
Clayton O. Hall

Hi Colleagues:

I have served the Jamaica Teachers’ Association all my professional life. This ranges from my post as Assistant Sports Coordinator of the St. Georges District where we set the foundations to ensure that Portland improved from thirteenth to winning the title to my current post as Chairman of the Public Relations Committee where we are implementing the membership database to ensure that the Association becomes more accessible to you the members.

This record of service has increased my resolve to do all I can to improve the relevance and effectiveness of this our professional organization as well as to ensure that as professionals we make our voices heard on issues that affect the educational, social and emotional development of the children in our charge. I therefore offer myself to serve as your president elect for the year 2010 to 2011.

My vision is to enhance the communications capabilities of the association to reflect 21st Century customer service modalities. My vision is the repositioning of the JTA as a repository of policy on education and a professional voice in all things education. I aim to provide teachers a forum for the ventilation of best practices and plans which will be documented and copyrighted to protect our intellectual property. My vision can be captured in the following theme: Regeneration and Renewal: Learning from the past, Preparing for the future.

Thus, I seek your support on a platform to include the following among other priorities:

  • Ensure that licensing if supported becomes the responsibility of the professional organization as obtains internationally and in many other local professional areas.
  • To make clear and remain steadfast in our demand for funds owed as per our contract.
  • To ensure that our remuneration remains at 80% of private sector levels.
  • To agitate for the creation and staffing of special education units in clusters island-wide.
  • Promote a positive image of teachers and teaching.
  • To seek a speedy implementation of the residential time-out centers.
  • To continue to unite and serve Jamaica’s teachers.

Blessings

Clayton Hall

Welcome

February 26, 2010

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February 25, 2010

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