|A section of the audience at the event. (C. Pitt/BGIS)|
Education Minister Ronald Jones believes there is somewhat of a disconnect between teaching and learning for which there are solutions.
He made this observation to 400-odd recruits for the academic year 2012-2013, at the official start of courses at the Erdiston Teachers’ Training College.
Minister Jones told the rookies that while they might find a number of students before them, they should not assume that all would learn the first time around. "Some will comprehend the first time you do the example… some… the second time… some will learn it the third time…. Some will learn the fourth time you do the example, and
there are some you are going to have to be doing the example with all the time…where you have to be constantly reinforcing even as you build."
Lamenting that sometimes it involved "passing students through the [education] system" and allowing them to move on even though they did not grasp the concept and even though examples provided did not make a difference, the Minister admitted: "Our system pushes them on."
Elaborating on this, he alluded to results of the recent Barbados Secondary Schools Entrance Examination where some students scored below 30 per cent and he stressed that they should not have "done the examination," as an exam did not create a miracle on the day for those individuals and was not "a magic wand".??
The Minister also acknowledged that sometimes children, like adults, became distracted during lessons, leading to a disconnect between teaching and learning.?? Stating that solutions must be found, Mr. Jones said, "We have to find ways and means of constantly connecting every minute; not at the end of any lesson [but] every single minute we have to connect. So, when we do our lesson plans, they must not be static, there are only guides for the tutors when they come and do their evaluations… but they must be dynamic. You have to do something to bring them back up to make sure that you connect with them again."????
Emphasising that it was not a criticism, but a fact, Mr. Jones said, "In many of our schools some of our teachers are not connecting; if we were connecting to those children in front of us [then] the profile, when we do any assessment, any evaluation, any test, would not be as it is in many of our schools, because we would have gotten
that connection and our children would soar as we think that they should – to the highest heights."??????
While he stressed it was important to be creative and innovative, Mr. Jones said teachers also needed "to care". "It is beyond the pedagogue, the teaching-learning environment, children know if we like them…"