Cherie Tull receiving her award from Minister of Education,??Ronald Jones, for??overall Outstanding Performance in the Diploma in Education Secondary (Evening). (A Gaskin/BGIS)
With knowledge constantly evolving, the role of the teacher is a dynamic one which calls for changes to the classroom.
This was underscored by Minister of Education, Science, Technology and Innovation, Ronald Jones, as he delivered the feature address at last Saturday’s Erdiston Teachers’ Training College (ETTC) graduation ceremony at the Garfield Sobers Sports Complex. He stressed that educators should "continue to stay on the cutting edge of knowledge; grasp whatever knowledge that is provided, wherever it is provided, either in Barbados, in the region or in the wider world."
Acknowledging that students today were not like those of the past, Mr. Jones said: "They come to you with skills, some that you do not possess, particularly Information, Technology and Communication [ICT] skills. Those are made for youth, the way they manipulate it."
The Education Minister also pointed out that classrooms should continue to reflect changes taking place around them. ??He added: "Every year your classroom should look different. Your classroom should feel different because different students are coming to you. Different students are demanding education. Different students are demanding learning. Therefore, within that wide context the classroom must change.
"The classroom must be constantly dynamic, reflecting all the changes that are in fact taking place in the world, the new knowledge which is brought to bear on ourselves as world citizens [and] of citizens of Barbados."
"Today, learning is not just delivered… from the teacher to the student, but the atmosphere is highly interactive. There is a sharing out of the knowledge that can be provided. If you believe that you are the overseer, if you believe that you are the lord of everything, that’s your first mistake. We, as teachers would be making phenomenal mistakes if we believe that is the case," he said.
Jones told teachers that a fresh approach should be adopted in educating the students of this generation.?? He suggested: "…You should use whatever talent exists within your classroom. If John Brown understands the use of multimedia better than you do, let John Brown demonstrate the use of multimedia for you. Of course, you become the student and learn from the student."
He continued: "Our children are not simply empty vessels into which we pour all that we know or all that we think that we know. They come to us with learned behaviours and as a result of this learnt behaviour we have to study them individually…, you have to analyse them, you have to see what is it that causes them to move, causes them to respond to you, causes them to do what is it you would like to guide them to do."