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May 30, 2002

Teachers learn to integrate computers, curriculum

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With the government’s initiative to install internet connected computers in every school well underway, the challenge now becomes how to integrate this new technology into the school curriculum. Today News 5′s Ann-Marie Williams found out that these modern tools will complement, not replace, traditional learning.

Ann-Marie Williams, Reporting

A week-long intensive workshop on the integration of technology across the curriculum is underway at the Chateau Caribbean Hotel in Belize City. Today, instructors focused on reading, writing, listening and speaking.

According to Freya Zipper, literature professor at Armstrong Atlantic State University in Savannah, Georgia, one way for teachers to interest students in reading is by starting with familiar material.

Freya Zipper, Lit Professor, Armstrong State Univ.

“Students need to read books relevant to their lives. So if I lived in Belize and taught here, I would use a lot of books about young adults in Belize. Students like to read about students like themselves, boys, girls, they like to see familiar surroundings. And then I would think I would take it out to the larger world, so that they could understand that reading about characters like yourself is a human condition.”

Meg Walworth, reading specialist, also from Georgia, reminded the teachers present that they are responsible to cultivate good readers. She offers a bit of advice.

Meg Walworth, Reading Specialist, Armstrong State Univ.

“To read aloud to their students on a regular basis, any age level, to model a genuine interest in and a love for reading. So they’ve got to be readers themselves. If they are not readers already, they need to fall in love with reading and become readers, so that they are modelling that coming in and talking about something they read the evening before. Reading chooser children, in allowing the children to read throughout the day, so that it becomes a habit.”

Walworth also impresses upon teachers that even slow readers can learn to read well using specific strategies.

Meg Walworth

“Identifying that the level of a reader, whether they’re actually competent to work with the reading material independently, or whether they need some teacher support and some direct instruction in reading skills. Once you become comfortable identifying the level of competency of a reader, then you know who can benefit from time spent with the reading material, and who needs some extra support. And how to…because we have large numbers in our classrooms, how to effectively deal with a group of independent readers and the children who need support.”

One teacher who plans to give her students the support they need is Michelle Elliot of Queen Square Anglican School.

Michelle Elliot, Teacher, Queen Square Anglican

“Well, as opposed to the fast readers, we’ve learnt that with slow readers all we need is some time and some patience. And the co-ordinators have also listed a lot of strategies that we can use, taking time out to deal with these children individually and not just pushing them at the back of the classroom.”

Maureen Faber, Teacher, Sadie Vernon High

“We are teaching our students that the writing process is very important. They have to learn that the draft is important. And one of the things that I plan to come with for September to show them, is that they could get points along the way, rather than just give them an essay to write or a story or poem to write and grade it, give them point along the way for prewriting.”

Marshall Mejia, Curriculum Officer, Stann Creek

“They’ve given us an opportunity to share strategies that we’ve used, and I want to share one with the public. It’s a reading that was taught to me in the form of an acronym, that of mother. Can I sing that song to you? (singing) “M” is for the million things she’s taught me, “O” means only that she’s growing old…”

Ann-Marie Williams for News 5.

The workshop ends on Friday.

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Viewers please note: This Internet newscast is a verbatim transcript of our evening television newscast. Where speakers use Kriol, we attempt to faithfully reproduce the quotes using a standard spelling system.

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