Writers In Schools and Education (W.I.S.E.) Programme Tutor, Celeste St. Hill, instructs primary school teachers?? in the art of creative writing during??a workshop at the Ministry of Education and Human Resource Development. (photo courtesy of the Media Resource Department)??

Teachers in primary and secondary schools have been urged to share their creative ideas with the Media Resource Department (MRD).

The call came yesterday as Chief Media Resource Officer, Walter Harper, addressed the start of a three-day workshop on Creative Writing, at the headquarters of the Ministry of Education and Human Resource Development, Elsie Payne Complex, Constitution Road, St. Michael.

Commending Harrison College’s teacher, Kerri-Ann Codrington, for calling attention to the need for the workshop, Mr. Harper said the MRD was grateful for the idea.?? And, he told the 25 teachers gathered that the department felt proud of its Audio Visual Aids Officers, who "go into schools and are able to understand people’s needs", and by interacting with them, build relationships as they facilitated their needs.

Stressing that it was good when ideas originated with teachers and were accepted by the Ministry, Mr. Harper added: "The Ministry itself does not have all of the knowledge and the skills. That being the case, I would like to see more teachers saying to the Ministry what their needs are. The MRD operates basically on that principle. We go into the schools; we interact and we find out where you need help and we give that assistance. Feel free to share your ideas with us."

While he admitted that it was not always possible to react quickly because of budget issues, he gave the assurance, however, that the budget completed by September would address programmes in the next school year.

Turning attention to the importance of the workshop, the senior education official praised teachers for their interest and dedication, despite being on vacation, and he pointed out that the partnership between the National Cultural Foundation (NCF) and the MRD represented "the continuation of what is to come – good work and creative thinking".

The creative workshop, which ends tomorrow, has as its key objectives to expose teachers to ways of presenting information to students so that their creativity is enhanced and to model methods and strategies which teachers can employ in the classroom to encourage writing.

Mr. Harper, in explaining that it was further designed to encourage process writing, brainstorming, critical thinking and the whole creative process, said:?? "And, that is really in keeping with what we do in the MRD. We are all about presentation, whether video, audio, [or] stills. We are about creative thinking. We have to ensure we don’t lose the inner child because the inner child is there to direct teachers and to enable teachers to better communicate with students."

Acknowledging that he had "a great deal of respect and love for persons who ???think outside the box’", the head of the MRD added: "We have been seeking to encourage teachers to share these ideas with us. We will again send out an ad into the schools to ask you to come with your ideas, whether a five-minute animation, a story, a chart or a diagram. At the end of the day, what we hope to achieve is to improve not only critical thinking, but also to improve comprehension skills."

Elaborating further, Mr. Harper said the type of comprehension skills meant were not in reference to the Common Entrance Examination, but in relation to the general public domain – "where something happens, is reported, and in conversation with persons you find that they have extracted either the beginning or the end of the report, run with it as though it is the gospel, then to amplify what they are saying or to cement in your brain, they say they have it on ???good authority’".

"I am concerned because I think that we need to pay more attention to it," Mr. Harper maintained.

The Chief Media Resource Officer concluded by reiterating the call for participants to supply the MRD with some of what they produced and disclosed: "We are seeking to build up our library and at the same time we are using our website in the absence of having a television channel… We are using our website and we are seeking to develop a 24-hour outlet where teachers can share their work [and] where students and parents can go, not just for knowledge, but for general information."

Facilitators for the department’s creative workshop were Phelan Lowe, Barbara Sandiford and Celeste St. Hill – all outsourced from the NCF.


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