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May 16, 2016

Nurturing 21st Century Teachers Moving Forward

On the heels of a successful march last Friday as part of their campaign “Stand Up for Belize,” primary school teachers returned to Belize City today and were joined by secondary school teachers. They are taking part in a conference themed, “Nurturing Twenty-first Century Teachers Moving Forward.”  For the next two days they will be engaged in discussions that will lead to their personal and professional development as well as on the critical area of research; teaching tools that are required in the classrooms. News Five’s Isani Cayetano reports.

 

Isani Cayetano, Reporting

Educators from across the country, at various academic levels, gathered at the Biltmore this morning to commence a two-day conference.  The Biennial Teacher Education Conference is in its third session and the focus this time around is the development of twenty-first century teachers.  Jeannie Garbutt Franklin is Officer in Charge of the Teacher Education and Development Services.

 

Jeannie Garbutt-Franklin

Jeannie Garbutt-Franklin, Teacher Education & Development Services

“This is the third Biennial Teacher Education Conference being held under the theme “Nurturing Twenty-first Century Teachers Moving Forward.”  We actually had two conferences before, the first looked at where we were in 2012 and the second one looked at actually sustaining twenty-first century teachers raising the bar.  So today’s conference is a continuation of those two conferences and it looks at what we can do to help nurture our twenty-first century teachers in the classroom.  So it brings together a group of teacher educators from the various teacher education institutions in Belize.  You will know that we no longer have teachers college stationed in Belize City but we have our teacher education institutions across the various districts.”

 

According to Garbutt-Franklin, the Ministry of Education is taking a multi-pronged approach which includes research, as well as professional development.

 

Jeannie Garbutt-Franklin

“We have several things we’re doing; we are looking at research that’s pertinent to teacher education that would help to inform practice.  We’re also looking at professional development opportunities for these teacher educators during these two days and we also want to hear from them.  So we’ll be involved in dialogue, hearing their feedback on teacher education programs and how we can nurture twenty-first century teachers in moving forward.”

 

But how does this all translate to the individual development of teachers and their performance in the classroom?  Well, there are at least three methods presently in use. Garbutt-Franklin says that the most important aspect of preparing teachers for the classroom happens while they’re undergoing training.

 

Jeannie Garbutt-Franklin

“A critical part of teacher preparation happens during in-service training, during the training phase and by helping to bring our teacher educators together, hearing from them and providing opportunities like this afternoon we have three workshops being run; one of them looks at the pedagogical practices of teacher educators.  Actually andragogy, we just like we want our teachers to learn how to teach their students, we want our teacher educators to learn how to relate to their adult learners so that that can translate to good pedagogical practices in the classroom.  So that’s one way.  We also look at cutting edge technology and skills for twenty-first century teachers.  So we have Total Business Solutions introducing our teachers to what is out there, what they can make use of in training so that our teachers are exposed to this technology in training and therefore they will be better able to apply it in the classroom.”

 

Reporting for News Five, I am Isani Cayetano.

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