Education Minister, Ronald Jones, wants teachers to focus on becoming self-reflective rather than self-indulgent.

He stressed this today at the Deighton Griffith Secondary School, Kingsland, Christ Church, as he addressed the official opening of the Second Summer Institute on Special Education. It is a collaborative workshop organised by the Barbados Union of Teachers, the Canadian Teachers??? Federation (CTF) and the Ministry of Education, Science Technology and Innovation.

Telling the over 60 participants that a self-reflective teacher was a unique individual who took nothing for granted, Minister Jones said, as that person delivered lessons to student, he asked himself/herself a series of questions daily. Among these, Mr. Jones said were questions related to how a lesson was taught to students.

Noting that there was nothing wrong with a teacher acknowledging that it was a good lesson, Mr. Jones added: ???But do you see it manifested in the faces, or posture of your students? Were they focused on what you were doing? Did they ask you questions as you delivered the lesson or [just] sat there and in their silence saying, ???I wondered why she brought me in the class to waste my time???????

He reminded teachers that children???s thoughts wavered and at times did not connect to what was being delivered and, as self-reflective practitioners, they had to ask ???Am I truly connecting????, or ???Am I making that child totally aware of whatever it is I???m trying to deliver in Mathematics, History, Grammar????.

The Education Minister added that it was important that teachers consider there were issues which children were trying to come to grips with and should ask further whether there was more that they could have done.

Noting that they should consult with colleagues and sit with the Year Groups, Mr. Jones said teachers should ask themselves, ???Did my children really learn????; ???Did I teach the concept correctly???? ???What are the benefits of what I taught to those children???? and ???Do I actually do the research that was necessary???? He added that if such questions did not abound in some teachers??? minds, then they were not as self-reflective as they should be.

Cautioning against becoming self-indulgent, the Education Minister explained that such persons were those whose ego took control, believing they were ???the best??? and that no one was better than them, with a ???I know-it-all??? attitude.

???The ego takes possession and the student fails. They are not successful because you don???t see your colleague as worthy; as having the ability to share and to collaborate with you. You don???t write anything because you knew it 10 years ago,??? Mr. Jones said of this type of teacher.

He added that past knowledge of teaching might no longer be relevant as the world was so dynamic and fluctuating that the teacher needed to constantly seek new knowledge and information and provide it to the children via new methodologies. And, he alluded to new technologies and their impact on student learning, saying: ???The teacher still remains absolutely important to guide that exercise in learning; no longer is the teacher the boss, the bosses are in fact the information and communications technologies.???

The participants were reminded that constantly learning was the way forward and Mr. Jones, a former teacher himself said: ???That is what the self-reflective practitioner does; constantly learn to change and modify his own behaviour; to make learning real, to make learning authentic, to make learning important; to make learning resonate within the minds and bosoms of our children, make them want to learn more and find out more beyond what you have taught.???

The Summer Institute runs until Friday, July 26.

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