Pay More Attention To Slow Learners

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Minister of Education and Human Resource Development, Ronald Jones,??speaking at the opening ceremony of the Vocational Teacher’s Training Programme in Adult Education.

Teachers must not only focus on those pupils who are academically inclined, but should make an effort to work with students who take longer to grasp the concepts being taught.

This view was expressed yesterday, by Minister of Education and Human Resource Development, Ronald Jones, while speaking at the opening ceremony of the Vocational Teacher’s Training Programme in Adult Education at the Erdiston Teachers’ Training College.

He said the challenge in schooling was not in teaching a child who was "bright", but to make a positive difference in the life of a student who was receiving low percentages in a number of subjects.

??"The true challenge is to transfer those who cannot speak into speakers of standard English," he opined, adding that these children were often capable of moving on to acquire certificates in higher education.

Minister Jones also urged educators to show more love, empathy and care in the classroom. "One of the biggest failings in education is that we do not spend enough time on the heart of persons…It is the spiritual and emotional dynamic that makes us human and, sometimes, we have to put aside the chalk and blackboard and spend some time with the emotional and spiritual. When we do this, we can truly transform people," he advised.

Mr. Jones further encouraged teachers to be more flexible in the classroom and to commit themselves to life-long learning in order to stay on the cutting edge of teaching methodologies. "The use of technologies in teaching can heighten several senses at once and should be employed wherever possible," he suggested.

The Minister also expressed concern about teachers who were disadvantaged financially because they were not in management positions within the education sector.

Mr. Jones noted that there were over 3000 educators in the system, with limited opportunities for advancement. He added that his Ministry was seeking a solution to ensure that teachers who did their best work in the classroom received the same remuneration as educators in more senior positions. "Teachers should not be denied reaching the highest pinnacle financially because of the lack of opportunity," he declared.

kmoore@barbados.gov.bb

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