Important features of a project launched in 2012 with the assistance of the Caribbean Development Bank, were yesterday outlined to educators and others who attended a ceremony at the Erdiston Teachers’ Training College, Pine Hill, St. Michael.
The School Teacher Effectiveness Plans (STEPs), which is now in its implementation phase, was described as aiming to improve quality education from pre-primary to secondary level while at the same time, enhancing teacher and school leader effectiveness.
Deputy Chief Education Officer, Dr. Roderick Rudder, while giving an overview of its objectives, revealed that the project was centred around a very important dimension related to Government’s significant investment in education.
Explaining the three components of the project, he told the audience, it entailed enhancing the physical learning environment. Dr. Rudder said, “Unless the classroom environment is conducive to learning there would be significant challenges in getting our students to stay focused and for teachers to feel comfortable while delivering pedagogy.”
He said it also addresses the need to build capacity, not only among classroom practitioners, but among those persons who trained teachers or provided teacher education; hence a significant role was identified for Erdiston Teachers’ Training College in the project.
With respect to the enhanced learning environment, Dr. Rudder said it was envisioned that there would be the reconstruction of six primary schools, the significant rehabilitation or upgrade of two primary schools along with minor civil works at selected primary schools and the construction of a new secondary school. However, he noted that while the civil works component was no longer the primary focus, it continued to be of some importance in ensuring the classroom environments were modernised to facilitate the learning process. According to him, the primary focus has been on the building of teacher capacity to ensure quality enhancement in the area of school effectiveness.
Elaborating further, he said: “At the outset of the project we envisioned the need to focus our attention on the diagnostic assessment of classroom practices and pedagogical approaches to create an opportunity to enhance the delivery of instruction to cater to the needs of every student in the classroom.”
With respect to the area of monitoring and evaluation, Dr. Rudder said each school would outline its own steps and be measured against itself. He further noted that assessments would be done at four levels for both teachers and students. Students would be assessed collectively as a school, by year group, by class and individually, while teacher assessment would be based on the entire staff, year group, peer assessment and self-assessment.