Minister of Education and Human Resource Development, Ronald Jones (left), shares a light moment with Principal of Erdiston Teachers’ Training??College, Barbara Parris. At right is Deputy Chairman of the Board, Louis Whittington??. (C. Pitt/BGIS)

Erdiston Teachers’ Training College always provides "an enriching experience" for those in the education system.

This was the key message sent today by those addressing the official start of courses at the Erdiston Teachers’ Training College, Pine Hill, St. Michael, for the academic year 2012-2013.

Minister of Education and Human Resource Development, Ronald Jones, in his remarks, told the teachers in training that coming to the institution allowed them to participate and interact with others and "to bring all their varied learning experiences together" to impact the school environment.

Noting that it was important to share knowledge, Minister Jones said: "We have to share with each other because individually we don’t know everything, but collectively we can achieve most things. And, that is why training is absolutely important because it brings us into the collective. It brings us together to discuss our own best practices and to share knowledge…"

Young teachers heard too that it was an experience for them to enjoy as they would be "doing things that they never thought possible".?? Minister Jones pointed out: "A degree does not make you a teacher. It adds content; it gives you content knowledge. That content knowledge is important, but you have to find the techniques to distil that knowledge to the students before you…"

Deputy Chairman of the Board, Louis Whittington, in his address told the new group that they were "the single most important element in the achievement of students and teachers" and pointed out that with more and better training their students would soar.

He noted too that their training would allow for the development of skills that would include the use of various methodologies to reach students.?? "You will be charged with the responsibility of devising methodologies to reach those 30 odd students. You can’t just teach to the ones who seem to be grasping it the first time," stressed Mr. Whittington.

The Deputy Chairman added that the Education Ministry would also be empowering them by providing the tools and treating them "as scholars in their own right, and not just as workers delivering a curriculum".

"You will have an opportunity, as professionals, to tweak that curriculum to address the individual needs of the students," said Mr. Whittington while adding that it was important for those in the profession to also grasp opportunities for further training provided by Erdiston during the Easter and summer holidays.??

Meanwhile, Principal of the College, Barbara Parris, promised teachers that their year-long course would be "professionally rewarding".?? While they were told to expect their programmes to involve some rigour, the trainees were also reminded that success would be attainable once they applied themselves diligently.??

Mrs. Parris acknowledged that it was a path of professional development that focused on lifelong learning and growing as an educator.?? She stressed: "There is always more to learn and new skills to acquire…it assists in improving classroom practice and moving forward. It also helps you to acquire new skills and become a better teacher. You will gain confidence by learning new methods and information.

"Professional development is important both for new teachers and veteran teachers. Lifelong learning will keep you motivated and thinking positively, and will help you gain confidence to overcome the daily challenges that you face in the work environment," she stressed.

This academic year will see 426 students pursuing courses at the Erdistion Teachers’ Training College.


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