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Aug 4, 2006

Teachers participate in countrywide training

Story PictureEvery summer, teachers across the country return to the classroom as students. News Five’s Janelle Chanona reports on the latest efforts by educators to make the grade.

Janelle Chanona, Reporting
For the past week, thousands of Belizean teachers have participated in training workshops across the country.

According to officials from the Belize District, such education sessions are crucial to teacher … and student … development.

Atira Gabourel, Facilitator
?What we are trying to bring out is the life skills within our students. We are starting from infant one all the way up to standard six. You have critical thinking, problem solving and several others. Critical thinking and problem solving are very important because our children are not thinking for themselves. And with problem solving with today?s society you see a lot of crime, so we are trying to break that down. Maybe in the next four to five years, you?ll see less crime, less problems in our country.?

But one big problem in the country has been year after year of disappointing results in the Primary School Examination.

Janelle Chanona
?Do you think that more teachers are interested in these training sessions after they were named as part of the reasons for bad P.S.E.results? Do you think that was an extra motivator??

Elena Smith, President, Belize District B.N.T.U.
?It could be. Along with the fact that some teachers had received letters of termination because of not qualifying themselves, so other teachers may have the fear of maybe, I might be next.?

Janelle Chanona
?Are these training sessions optional or they have to come??

Elena Smith
?That?s a good question. As a part of our license says that we must acquire certain hours within the five year period, so if you have not acquired your hours then it will be mandatory for you to be here, because your license time is up. So we try to make certain sessions mandatory. We got a few extra teachers this year than we expected, which is good. But we don?t want them to come here because of those reasons. We want them to come because as teachers they see the need to improve themselves so that they can be move effective and so that their students can be better students, perform better.?

According to Elena Smith, District President of the Belize National Teachers Union, educators are committed to excellence.

Elena Smith
?We need to see how we can get other stakeholders to work with us for this coming school year. To offer sessions to our teachers, and to go to schools and see how we can assist those teachers who are in those levels–standard three, standard four, standard six levels–who will be having these children prepared for these exams. Because we as a union, we must do our part in ensuring our teachers are skilled and prepared to do their job properly.?

One of the topics on table this week was health education.

Alfonso Yah, Curriculum Coordinator, Belize District
?In the new curriculum, the Health and Family Life curriculum, we have themes like sex and sexuality, HIV and AIDS, managing conflict resolution and those are topics that we are dealing with teachers. So that they will be well equipped, and they will know how to deal with it in the classrooms with the children.?

The participant pool includes a classroom full of new teachers. And the pros are eager to help the rookies learn the ropes.

Lois Barber, Curriculum Supervisor, Belize District Education Centre
?Parents, many of them come from young parents, many of them come from homes where parents are working and sometimes they don?t even see their parents. A lot of our parents today themselves are going to school, and so the attention that our children should be getting at home, they are not getting. And so our teachers have to be aware of that, and do whatever they can in their power to help our children to move on. So that they can get all the necessary knowledge that they need to have to help in developing our nation of Belize.?

Next week, teachers will take on subjects like phonics and creative writing.

Reporting for News Five, I am Janelle Chanona.

The teacher training workshops are jointly organised by the Ministry of Education through the Quality Assurance Delivery Service, and the Belize National Teachers Union.

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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