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Jun 7, 2018

Teachers and Critical Thinking

Three countries in the region, including Belize, are participating in an O.A.S.-ITEN programme. For two days, teachers will be honing their skills to support the development of critical thinking skills and creativity among students through hands-on experiences. This new approach to teaching is more holistic expanding from the traditional sciences and math to the arts and reading and at its core is community outreach.  News Five’s Duane Moody reports.

 

Duane Moody, Reporting

Day one of a two-day professional development workshop for high school teachers began today at the conference room at the Coastal Zone Management Office in Belize City. Forty teachers of varied subject areas are being taught how to develop critical thinking skills and creativity among students using a non-traditional teaching method. It is part of the Ministry of Education’s mission to revolutionize the education system in Belize.

 

Brenda Armstrong

Brenda Armstrong, Supervisor of Secondary Schools, MoE

“We get a chance to have teachers transform themselves so that they can then go out and transform other teachers, who will transform the students who they come in contact with. It’s not a workshop that will just provide them with knowledge, it is methodology. And one of the most exciting things about this workshop, it can cut across all subject areas. In fact, if you recall just last week, we launched an initiative in Belizean Studies for the secondary level and that is part and parcel of what all of this is about—rethinking and reorganizing ourselves first so that we can then transform what is going on in our secondary schools. This is not just putting new subjects on the curriculum; this is going to change how we approach learning at the secondary level.”

 

You’ve heard about the concept of STEM, Science Technology, Engineering and Mathematics. But Doctor Padhu, who is facilitating the training, believes that it is much more than that and has coined STREAMING—Science, Technology, Reading, Engineering, Arts, Mathematics to Inspire the Next Generation—as a more appropriate form  of learning.

 

Padmanabhan Seshaiyer

Dr. Padmanabhan Seshaiyer, Associate Dean, George Mason University, U.S.A.

“It is a way to present education in a holistic and meaningful way. But by just having the disciplines of science, technology engineering and mathematics without having the arts may not fulfill the holistic part. So in order to make it much more accessible and meaningful, we have to incorporate ‘A’ into STEM that makes it STEAM. And without literacy, none of these subjects make any sense so you have to include reading and writing and that’s the R. So if you actually put the STREAM; that makes it Science, Technology, Reading, Engineering, Arts, Mathematics. But then I just decided to expand that to STREAMING cause we stream movies, we stream audio; we stream a lot of things so why don’t we stream education.”

 

The O.A.S.-Inter-American Teacher Education Network seeks to have, in its first instance, over four hundred teachers across Jamaica, Belize and the Bahamas trained in this form of pedagogical practices. O.A.S. Representative in Belize, Starret Greene emphasizes the idea that quality teachers translates into quality education.

 

Starret Greene

Starret Greene, O.A.S. Representative, Belize

“What this shows is the readiness and the willing of the Organization to work with stakeholders in education at the governmental and non-governmental levels to improve the quality of education in Belize and indeed across the hemisphere. This workshop has been done in Jamaica, we are going to do the same thing in the Bahamas and our goal is to train some four hundred teachers. We are pleased to support these efforts because they are critical to reaching children everywhere across our region and specifically in Belize in rural areas so that there is equity and fairness in the delivery of education services.”
Duane Moody for News Five.

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