A change in attitude of all stakeholders is required to address the underlying issues of Summer School.

This recommendation came yesterday from Senior Education Officer, Fernando Carter, as he addressed a ceremony at George Lamming Primary School, to mark the close of Summer School Primary for 77 children who deferred taking the 2014 Barbados Secondary Schools??? Entrance Examination.

Mr. Carter noted that when Summer School Primary began in the late 1990s, its focus was on remediation as a reactive intervention strategy, but over time the Ministry realised that a more proactive approach was required to deal with problems.

Outlining how this ???paradigm shift??? could be achieved, Mr. Carter said early diagnosis was critical to developing a range of essential assessment strategies.

???We should be reminded that detailed record-keeping from varied assessments can generate data that can inform alternative instructional methods which take into consideration the various learning styles of students. In the classroom, the teaching of skills should be systematic, very individualised, multi-sensory, multi-targeted, cumulative, and create that type of foundation that can be built on from year to year.

???Ample reinforcement is required to keep students on task, and to develop and strengthen student memory. Instruction needs to be differentiated by ability, leading to flexibility in the type of strategies chosen that can better manage behaviour, and of course, parents must be kept informed and involved in their child???s development. You must also offer the necessary support to the school and engage teachers to better participate in your children???s overall growth,??? he stressed.

Stating that one could not ignore the fact that students came with various problems, the Senior Education Officer acknowledged that more counselling and social work interventions were necessary to address psycho-social issues likely to impact on the teaching and learning environment.

It was also pointed out that to effectively provide for Summer School, partnerships might need to be entered into with the private sector or organisations like the Erdiston Teachers??? Training College (ETTC) to effect quality programmes and quality assurance.

???Summer School must be seen as a cutting edge classroom that models and exemplifies best practices. For instance, partnering with the ETTC can facilitate extended teaching practice for their students through team teaching.

???Technology has been heavily infused in our instruction this year. Digicel and the Ministry have provided connectivity, tablets and computers to increase the probability of achieving the required outcomes. I would like to offer my sincere thanks for this infusion of technology and civic responsibility,??? Mr. Carter said, as he commended the level of stakeholder involvement in the programme.


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