Teachers engaged ahead of new School Year
In keeping with the Ministry of Education’s mandate to improve the competencies, motivation and commitment of teachers, schools will this week be engaged in professional development sessions.
“PD Week” as it is called, encompasses new staff orientation, discussion of term plans, refreshing of effective teaching strategies, and extra support for the implementation of new practices in the classroom.
Some secondary school teachers will also attend “Subject Day” this Wednesday, August 21, when sessions will be held on Information Technology (Girls’ High School), Music (Girls’ High School), French and Spanish (Thomas Saunders Secondary School), Science (Girl Guides Headquarters).
These Subject Day sessions will be convened from 8:45 a.m. – 1:30 p.m. There will also be a two-day session for teachers of Health and Family Life Education (HFLE) on Wednesday at the Fisheries Conference Room and on Thursday at the Girl Guides Headquarters. All other secondary school teachers are expected to meet in subject groups at their schools to plan for the new academic year.
Stressing the importance of professional development, Senior Education Officer for Curriculum, Aldia Gumbs-Dyer, emphasized the relationship between teacher performance and student achievement.
“Professional development is an area that our ministry in St Vincent and the Grenadines has always ascribed high importance to. This is because we are fully aware that there is a strong relationship between teacher performance and student performance. So we have continually worked hard to identify the areas where teachers have greatest need for support. To date, we held several sessions that focused on collaborative learning among teachers. So peer coaching and teacher-led professional development are really being given priority at this time,” Gumbs-Dyer said.
Also coinciding with PD Week is a workshop for selected primary school teachers on the implementation of the OECS Learning Standards and Assessment Framework. The workshop will take place from August 20 to 27 and will orient the teachers to the framework’s content and methodologies.
The OECS Learning Standards were developed in the four core subject areas – Mathematics, Language Arts, Science and Social Studies, and are an important priority within the OECS Education Sector Strategy.
Chief Education Officer (Ag.), Elizabeth Walker, highlighted the importance of the OECS Education Sector Strategy, suggesting that the Standards and Assessment Framework was designed to improve the quality of education and ultimately student performance across member states.
“The OECS Education Sector Strategy 2012 – 2021 which guides the educational direction and priorities of member states in the OECS was developed to assist member states in their educational programs and activities. Out of that strategy, there were seven strategic priorities or imperatives which would be used to assist in achieving the vision and goals of education in the OECS,” Walker said.
According to a release from the Education Media Unit, the Ministry is using a phased approach to the implementation of the OECS Learning Standards and Assessment Framework. The release indicates that in 2018, 10 schools began implementation and from September 2019, all other schools will be expected to implement the standards and assessment framework.