Teacher Training To Enhance STEM Education

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For those who are not doing well in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) subjects, all is not lost.

Parliamentary Secretary in the Ministry of Education, Senator Harcourt Husbands, gave this assurance today as he addressed the opening of the fifth Regional Teacher Training Workshop at the 3Ws Pavilion, Cave Hill Campus, University of the West Indies.

Sponsored by the Caribbean Science Foundation, in collaboration with the Caribbean Academy of Science and the Education Ministry, it aims to expose teachers to knowledge and skills specifically focused on the nature of science. It is also expected to improve their understanding of how students learn, so as to introduce them to UNESCO-approved micro-science kits.

While admitting that his own understanding of Mathematics came later in life, Senator Husbands praised the three-day workshop that would lead to primary school teachers??? enhancing their ability to impart knowledge on STEM.

He said: ???Globally, it has been recognised that the application of scientific, technological, engineering and mathematical knowledge is critical to the economic development of countries. The Caribbean is no exception. However, the region cannot actualise the associated benefits of STEM unless it builds capacity in its human resource.

???As Parliamentary Secretary in the Ministry, I share the view that our capacity building efforts must start with the teachers at the primary level, as you are the ones charged with building the sound platform of knowledge, skills and attitudes which are required for success at all levels in the education system.

“Educators, it is imperative that you strive to nurture the natural curiosity of our students, as you facilitate their engagement with Science content in an environment which supports collaboration and investigation.???

Senator Husbands also expressed the hope that teachers would exit the sessions ???more infused with enthusiasm and better equipped to stimulate interest and excitement amongst students for science, prior to their entrance into secondary school???.

The former teacher said he also anticipated successes gained at the primary level would serve as an impetus to study the sciences at the secondary level with a view to pursuing the area as a viable career option.

???This will be manifested in a greater number of entries and passing grades at CSEC, CAPE, as well as an increase in the number of persons who practice STEM as a way of life. It is also envisioned therefore that this will result in a greater number of students pursuing science, engineering and mathematics at post-secondary institutions.

???It is known that the results for Science and Mathematics examinations offered by the Caribbean Examinations are below an acceptable level. We must overcome the challenges being encountered in order to accelerate the region???s development through STEM. To this end, the main area of focus must be teacher training,??? he stressed.

The Parliamentary Secretary further pointed out that in order to address this issue, greater emphasis must be paid to providing courses not only in content knowledge, but in pedagogical areas, specifically how to teach Mathematics and Science.

???We applaud this initiative as it emphasises how to teach Science in a way that promotes deep conceptual understanding that can engender problem solving, critical thinking skills and innovative citizens,??? he said.

joy-ann.gill@barbados.gov.bb

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