Public school teachers participated in a one day professional development training conference at the Anatol Rodgers High School. The event, which was hosted by the Bahamas Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development (BASCD), was held under the theme ‘Creating Authentically Diverse Learning Environments.’
Director of Education Marcellus Taylor, while addressing the educators during the opening session on Thursday October 25, 2018, told them that the Department of Education was increasing the opportunities for District Superintendents, School Administrators and all teachers to engage in professional development opportunities. “We take professional development very seriously… and we want to support you,” said Taylor.
He noted that learning takes place not only in the classroom but in other environments as well. The Director said that the learning process can occur at home as well as in the streets. If the informal learning environment was having more success than the formal classroom setting, then there may be a need to create a teaching environment that is more “authentically diverse,” added the Director.
While reflecting on his time in the classroom, he encouraged the educators to take advantage of the networking opportunities that the conference presented. “I know of the isolation in a classroom - in a school with one teacher and six children. Networking is important, as it supports your development as a teacher,” he added.
BASCD representative Dwayne Higgins also spoke of his days as a novice teacher. Higgins, who started teaching in 1992, said during his initial time in the classroom he was encouraged by a fellow teacher to remain faithful to his job. “I was told to stop complaining and man up,” he said. Higgins credited this advice with helping him to focus and become a more effective teacher. He urged the educators to find ways to inspire their fellow colleagues to do the same.
The conference also included presentations by: Assistant Professor at the University of The Bahamas Deborah Wright, Retired Permanent Secretary Elma Garraway, National Teacher of the Year Antonique Josey and Bahamas Union of Teachers Area Vice President Quintin Laroda.
Teachers Tour Coastline with Defence Force
The final day of the Department of Education’s Social Science workshop for high school teachers, gave the educators an opportunity to observe the result of wave action and its impact on coastal erosion, caves, spits and cays.
The secondary school teachers were taken on a tour of portions of the western coastline of New Providence, while on board a Royal Bahamas Defence Force naval vessel.
Prior to boarding the vessel, the Commodore of the Defence Force Tellis Bethel welcomed the teachers to the base and told them that the mandate of the Defence Force included helping to “protect, preserve, educate and also inform; and we see educators as an extension of the force in its mandate to guard our heritage. This is what the Defence Force is about. We want to share the knowledge and insight about the wonders of our country.”
The teachers were given a geography presentation while on board the naval vessel on July 13, 2018, which was the last day of the four-day workshop entitled: “Re-training, Revising, Re-tooling: The Social Sciences Curricula.”
Head of Operations at the Defence Force Lieutenant Commander Carlon Bethel said the Defence Force was aware of the need for the promotion of environmental awareness and was pleased to use its resources to advance that effort through the hosting of the educators.
Teachers Presented with Lucayan Artifacts.
High school Social Science educators will now have access to authentic Lucayan artifacts, due to a donation by Dr. William Keegan, an archaeologist at the University of Florida.
On July 12th, 2018 Dr. Keegan, during a teacher's workshop, presented them with the historical pieces. For over 30 years Dr. Keegan has been working in The Bahamas performing research on the Lucayans. He challenged the educators to consider history as a continual process of learning. As additional research is carried out on the Lucayans, new information is presented which often changes some of thinking process about them, and he felt the artifacts would help the educators share this new body of knowledge. The aim is to expose the students, throughout the country, to the pieces via a traveling exhibition.
Also presenting at the workshop was Subject Coordinator at the Department of Education, Latoya Francis who discussed BGCSE geography coursework skills. Another presenter was former Professor at The University of The Bahamas Neil Sealey, who challenged the educators to teach geography lessons which will translate into marketable and transferable skills for a career; particularly topics which will promote the maritime industries, since The Bahamas is a marine nation, he said.
Exploring Research Resources
“Re-training, Revising, Re-tooling: The Social Sciences Curricula” four-day summer workshop started on July 9, 2018 at the University of The Bahamas’ Harry Moore Library. The workshop exposed Social Sciences secondary educators to a variety of topics including effective research techniques.
Perlene Baker, Education Officer in charge of Civics, History and Geography, said the aim of the workshop was to introduce the teachers to research techniques that they can share with their students, thereby equipping the latter with the tools to carry out their own coursework research. “What we have been finding out in the past was a lot of students would simply go to the Bahamas Department of Archives with the coursework topic, and allow the archives to carry out the research,” she said. The educators were told that students must be equipped with the skills to carry out their own research before they leave high school and enter college.
Students will also be able to access information from the university’s Oral History unit for their coursework research.
Teachers Visit Senate
High school teachers participated in an interactive workshop when they visited the Upper House of Parliament on July 11, 2018. The civics workshop for secondary social science teachers, exposed the educators to the importance of the Senate as a legislative body and the role played by civil servants in the lawmaking process. The teachers discussed the advantages of retaining the Westminster system of government and the impact of collective cabinet responsibility on cabinet ministers.
Workshop leaders included: Joel Lewis, Under Secretary Ministry of Transport and Local Government; President of the Senate Hon. Kay Forbes-Smith and Editor of the Hansard Anthony Forbes.
NAPPSS Annual Members Retreat
The New Providence Association of Principals of Public Secondary Schools (NAPPSS) opened its annual two-day retreat dubbed “Transforming Administrators to Shape the Finished Product” at the Seabreeze Ballroom, SuperClubs Breezes, on July 20, 2018. NAPPSS President Joan Gray opened the first session with a focus on Transformational Leadership versus Transactional Leadership. She urged the principals to adapt the proactive transformational style as opposed to the transactional style which is a more reactive approach. Meantime Mrs. Gray encouraged participants to build teams within their schools in an effort to develop a clear vision for their institutions. Additionally she advised them to empower other staff to become leaders.
That session was followed by dialogue with Acting Director of Education Marcellus Taylor, who implored the head administrators to “find ways to ensure that what we are doing today is still going to get us to the ultimate goal, which is to fully maximize our students”. Suggesting the demand from teachers today is more than it was in the past Mr. Taylor stressed the need for administrators to push teachers to expand their knowledge and skill sets. “In days past, teachers were the be all and end all; but today everyone is knowledgeable”. Mr. Taylor said.
In terms of administration, the director said the Department of Education is “trying to improve training for administrative roles”. He also noted that there is a need to address policies.
Secondary principals engaged in a “Marshmallow Challenge”. The activity reinforces team building, creativity, and the concept of trusting team members to get the job done.
Art and Design Workshop
Tie-Dye, batik and applique techniques were demonstrated at the Department of Education’s Art and Design summer workshop, held at the C.I. Gibson Senior High School July 16 – 20, 2018. The five-day workshop was led by Elizabeth Darling, a 40 year veteran art teacher. The art teachers examined samples of different tie-dye, batik and applique art pieces and were able to participate in producing their own unique replicas of the pieces. According to Ms. Darling, the intent is to introduce the teachers to more ways of carrying out the tie-dye, batik and applique techniques so that there can be an expansion of what is being submitted for the BJC and BGCSE art coursework component.
The teachers are creating charts with samples of the different methods along with drawings for their students to follow. Ms. Darling, who serves as a marker for the BJC and BGCSE exams, said at the conclusion of the workshop the teachers should have been equipped to successfully teach the art skills to students at all grade levels.
Horizontal Jumps Workshop
Local physical education teachers were engaged in a five-day workshop “Horizontal Jumps for Related Sports” from July 16-20, 2018 at C.I. Gibson Senior High School. Facilitator Coach Peter Pratt used high school students skilled in triple jump to demonstrate techniques to participating teachers. Throughout the workshop physical education teachers were expected to learn strategies on how to teach first time learners long and triple jump techniques, and how to use supplementary equipment to enhance the jumping techniques. Other facilitators included Keith Saunders and Antonio Saunders.
"How to Teach So Students Remember" Workshop
“How to Teach So Students Remember” four-day interactive workshop for primary school teachers was launched at C.C. Sweeting Senior High School on July 16, 2018. The summer workshop catered to facilitators of MOE’s after- school literacy and numeracy programme. Education Officer Sharon Scavella, the lead facilitator of the workshop, said the intent was to be very interactive and hands-on to captivate teachers so that they transfer that excitement to their classrooms.
“The whole purpose is to reacquaint them with elements that will help them assist their students. For instance, they are going to create simulated groups based on their experiences at school using various criteria,” Ms. Scavella said.
“We’re going to use the theory that they get to create a programme for whatever category of children that they’ve selected.”
Topics expounded on included “Here’s How to Hook Students Emotionally”. The objectives of the workshop were for teachers to identify strategies that will assist in helping students remember; design and create materials to be used in after-school programmes; and compile a resource booklet for reference purposes.
Performing Arts Workshop
Primary and Junior High School teachers are fully immersed in summer workshops throughout the island of New Providence. Wednesday July 4, 2018, primary school performing arts teachers enthusiastically engaged in the final day of a three-day workshop dubbed “Piano Keyboard Methods for Teachers Reloaded”. The venue of the event was the Mabel Walker Professional Development Institute in Big Pond.
Facilitators were Nathaniel Adams Sr. and Leonard Ferguson. Participants got to explore topics including “Understand Intervals in Terms of Musical Notes Including Whole and Half Steps, Major, Minor and Perfect” and “Develop Fundamental Knowledge of Chord Construction using Chord Formulas”.
Facilitator Adams said the purpose of the workshop was not only geared towards improving piano skills. “We’re looking at the music, looking at the words and their meanings. So there’s an English component to it. Music is not just sound. It is lyrics and finding something that’s really motivational.” Adams said.
Pre-Schools 21st Century Workshop
The Department of Education Early Childhood Unit held a summer workshop for government preschool teachers under the theme “Promoting 21st Century Skills in Preschoolers: Collaboration, Creativity, Critical Thinking and Communication.” The three-day workshop started on July 2, 2018,at the Stephen Dillet Primary School. Discussions are being held to further develop the skills of the pre-primary educators.
Curriculum reform & review
Exploring creative development in preschoolers,
Using educational software to promote critical thinking and problem solving in preschoolers
Providing opportunities for collaboration and communication through the CHILD project.
Energizing Teachers to Fly High Workshop
“Energizing Teachers to Fly Higher”three-day summer workshop started on July 2, 2018, at the Doris Johnson Senior High School. The Department of Education High School Performing Arts Department is hosting the in-service professional development summer workshop for the educators. Activities are focused on further developing hand-bell techniques and encouraging student participation in a mixed ability class. Presenters are: Jennifer Miller, Senior Education Officer High School Performing Arts; Marva Musgrove, Head of Department at Government High School and Shanderia McKenzie, Vocal Instructor at C.R. Walker Senior High School.
Business Teachers Workshop
The Department of Education Business Studies Unit launched a five-day summer workshop at the Doris Johnson Senior High School on July 2, 2018. The business studies teachers participated in interactive presentations which addressed a variety of challenges educators face. The teachers are encouraged to pursue activities which will enhance them socially, physically, spiritually and emotionally. The topics include:
Self-Preservation and Self Awareness
Eat Right! Live Right!
Developing Appropriate Procedures to Ensure a Well Managed Classroom
Reducing Stress Through Healthy Lifestyle
Strategies for Special Needs Students Workshop
“Strategies for Special Needs Students” six-day summer workshop started on July 2, 2018, at the Marjorie Davis Institute for Special Education. The Department of Education Special Education Unit is hosting the occupational therapy workshop to equip teachers to meet the varied requirements of special needs students. The workshop will allow the educators to collaborate on a variety of issues, particularly those which will identify the different types of challenges facing special needs children and how to implement practical strategies to mitigate those concerns.
Transitioning from Workshop to Classroom
“Transitioning from Workshop to Classroom” five-day summer workshop began on July 2, 2018, at the C.V. Bethel Senior High School. The workshop exposed the secondary science educators to a variety of topics including Effective Curriculum Delivery, First Aid Training and Healthy Eating Habits.
Social Studies Workshop
Over a score of Junior High School teachers got their treat for a whole week at a “Re-training, Revising, Re-tooling, the Social Science Curricula” workshop held at L.W. Young Junior High School. The event took place from July 2nd – July 6th. Facilitators included Dr. Sharmane Miller, Arlene Nash-Ferguson, Tamara Moncur and Victoria Collie-Smith. The high school teachers were engaged in hands-on activities for the first few days; getting their feet wet in incorporating drama, dance and other areas of the performing arts. A few topics addressed were “Use Actiview Document Camera to Produce Creative Social Studies Lessons”, “Develop Digital E-book Resources to be used in the Classroom”, “Use the Art of Drama and Storytelling to Creatively Teach Social Studies”.
Facilitator Collie-Smith said this workshop was like none other. “When you look at other professional development workshops, it’s always the same thing. This one was done creatively. The coordinator decided that she just wanted it to be interactive. Everything is hands-on.”