Teachers better equipped to deal with slow readers
November 19, 2013
Teachers better equipped to deal with slow readers

Primary and secondary school teachers are now better equipped to translate theory into practice, as it relates to the teaching of literacy in schools.{{more}}

This comes following a three-day workshop recently conducted by the Ministry of Education.

The workshop, which was held from November 13 to 15 at the Girl Guides headquarters, involved 50 teachers from the primary level and 20 from the secondary.

Jocelyn Blake-Browne, senior education officer for primary schools in the Ministry of Education explained that the workshop resulted from a remedial reading program that was conducted during the period January to June, this year.

According to Blake-Browne, the data collected revealed that many students at the grade 6 level were reading as many as four grade levels below their targeted grade level.

“We are looking at supporting teachers with quality instructions for basic reading and comprehension.

“Many students are struggling in acquiring basic skills in reading; as a result, they are unable to perform in school. This is revealed in many of the subject areas, not just in Language Arts, but in all of the other curricula areas,” Blake-Browne noted.

Blake-Browne said during the pilot programme, it was noted that many teachers were struggling with carrying out proper diagnoses of the students’ reading levels and planning appropriate intervention studies.

“We recommended that all teachers at the primary level receive professional development in that area. We also recognized that many of the secondary schools were struggling because some of the primary schools are the feeder schools for the same secondary schools. So, the problems were carried over into the secondary schools.

“So, we want to really minimize this problem, so we have actually included 20 of the secondary schools,” she stated.

Some of the topics covered during the workshop included: accessing students reading levels; intervention strategies and interpreting data.

The senior education officer said she was pleased with the level of participation and the enthusiasm of the teachers and anticipates that when they go back to the classroom, there will be improvement.

“At the end of this session, teachers will have to come up with timelines.

“We really want to get it right. We have been speaking about this topic on numerous occasions and we have not really been seeing the type of results that we wanted.

“I was convinced before and still am convinced that they have the capacity, they have the ability and they have the knowledge, but the problem is transferring theory into practice. So that is why this workshop was more a practical one. So that when they go back to their schools, we expect to see a change of attitude and to reach more of the students that they teach,” she added.

Blake-Browne said the Ministry has been investing “heavily” in the area of literacy training for teachers.

We are supporting our teachers all the way. We just want them to plan in a more strategic way, to reach the needs of the students….

“In the future, we will be visiting the teachers to ensure that they are able to translate theory into practice.” (AA)