Teachers at the Erdiston Teacher’s College listen intently at the opening of the one-year training??programme yesterday. (A.Miller/BGIS)

Erdiston Teachers’ Training College is an important step if teachers are to be considered professionals.??

This was hinted at yesterday by the Acting Prime Minister and Minister of Education and Human Resource Development, Ronald Jones, as he addressed the start of the Pre-Erdiston Programme for over 40 teachers at that institution.

Explaining that teachers had to be able to influence, inform and refine student learning, Minister Jones said: "You can only do that…by coming to an institution such as this (Erdiston Teachers’ Training College) and gaining new knowledge, new information, new attitudes, new behaviours relative to methodology and whatever else, to impact on the students you have before you."

Noting that it was absolutely wrong for teachers to refuse Erdiston training, the Acting Prime Minister added "…To some extent, those teachers who hide from learning, from knowledge acquisition, [and] from education should not consider themselves to be professional…to be worthy of being called teachers."

He continued:?? "A degree does not make you a teacher. It is a specialised craft. What you may have is some knowledge where there are many gaps…you can’t read enough to fill in all the gaps in your knowledge; if you are doing Language Arts, History, Social Studies and Geography. The knowledge is too great, so we only grasp a small amount of it as human beings to live reasonably successful lives.?? So you cannot hide from acquiring that knowledge to make it useful for yourself and for those whom you teach."

While lauding the College, Mr. Jones told teachers that it had been given a mandate not only to resurrect the Pre-Erdiston Programme but to implement others including a special needs initiative.?? As he urged its Principal Barbara Parris to set this in motion, he noted that with the expansion of early childhood education, the development of a certificate in this field would also be required.

He said: "Possibly within the next two or so years, the Ministry will have about six or seven new nursery schools in Barbados…Erdiston has that responsibility to move that agenda forward [for training in early childhood education]. You don’t want [us] to build the schools and then wait for teachers then to be trained. I want the teachers to be in the schools impacting on learning."


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