The inaugural Summer Institute, with its focus on Special Education for Teachers, got under way today at the Deighton Griffith Secondary School with teacher and executive member of the Barbados Union of Teachers (BUT), Anthony Alleyne, noting that the idea was rooted in the need to provide "quality, specialised training for local educators".

Pointing out that it followed the BUT’s commitment to membership education and professional development, Mr. Alleyne told the over 80 teachers gathered at the school in Kingsland, Christ Church: "We are here to educate, train, and to highlight current issues and information pertaining to education and the teaching profession."

The BUT’s workshop is being held in conjunction with the Canadian Teachers’ Federation (CTF) and the Ministry of Education and Human Resource Development and runs until Friday, July 27.??

Mr. Alleyne noted that it would address Learning Disabilities and Differentiated Instruction Practices; Early Childhood Education; Authentic Assessment Practices and Teaching, Reading and Literacy. And, he said, such specialised education was critical since the challenges faced by them in the classroom had now gone beyond basic instruction.

"As teachers we must constantly upgrade our skills by identifying and meeting the challenges that we face," he said, while adding that it was the BUT’s belief that "for every teacher who grows professionally, the Union and education grows exponentially and it benefits all schools, all teachers and all students."

Stressing that the Union would continue to forge alliances such as the one with CTF, Mr. Alleyne told the audience that included Minister of Education, Ronald Jones, this would be done to provide opportunities for members, in years to come, since the BUT viewed education as "a partnership and will hold to the ideal of positive collaboration as a path towards enhancing and improving the teaching profession."

Specialist Teacher from Canada, Dana Koswick, in addressing the participants said the CTF was proud to be partnering with the Government and the BUT, and welcomed the collaboration to provide the professional development workshop.

Pointing out that Canada faced similar issues in education and that the workshop would provide insight into the island’s struggles and successes, she noted:

"We are coming to understand some of the issues you face – resources; behavioural issues with students; lack of professional development and [about] special education training."

She also praised the relationship between the Ministry and the BUT, noting that the country was very fortunate to have such a strong cohesive union.?? She said: "The fact that your union and the Ministry work as a collaborative team focusing on the common goals and initiatives for the best education possible for students in your country is absolutely evident and amazing. Provinces in Canada do not share this same camaraderie."????

The Summer Institute on Special Education for Teachers is aided by four local teachers as well as four Canadian teachers who represent teacher organisations from two different provinces. The overseas facilitators are members of the CTF, an organisation which comprises affiliate members from each of Canada’s 10 provinces and three territories and has over 250,000 teachers.


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