University education experts inspire Caribbean teachers
Release Date 23 March 2011
Under resourced Caribbean classrooms would benefit from UK teaching techniques according to a Jamaican academic. Euphemia Robinson was one of 14 teachers and academics who spent ten days with the University of Reading on a new training initiative, designed to improve the standard of maths and science teaching in the Caribbean.
Euphemia was particularly impressed by UK teachers' level of preparedness and their use of simple materials in lessons.
The group of 14 were the first cohort to take part in the ‘Creating Champions' advanced training programme. The scheme is run by the University's renowned Institute of Education in partnership with the University of West Indies.
The group discovered new and innovative ways of teaching maths and science, hearing from the Institute's experts through seminars as well as attending workshops and visiting local schools: The Holt, Maiden Erlegh, Reading School, Redlands Primary and New Christ Church Primary.
Euphemia, who is currently pursuing a Master's in Education degree at the University of the West Indies, believes many of the techniques she witnessed could easily be incorporated into Jamaican classrooms which are challenged by a lack of funds.
"The children seemed to be playing while so much learning was going on," she said. "They were fitting things together, making discoveries, answering questions, interrogating teachers. It was quite marvellous."
As part of the programme a team from the University of Reading comprising Deb Heighes, Head of Science teaching, Dr Geoff Tennant, Head of Maths teaching and Sameer Lakhani, have just returned from Jamaica where they conducted seminars for maths and science teachers. They also showcased how the programme had brought a new and different approach to teaching maths and science amongst the teachers at an event hosted by Howard Drake, the British High Commissioner in Jamaica.
The team also had discussions with the Caribbean Ministry of Education and Central Examinations Board (CXE) about the future of the programme and discussed other collaborative opportunities such as reviewing the existing Science Syllabus across all the Caribbean countries and how Reading could play a part in that.
Dr Tony Sewell from the University of Reading's Institute of Education believes the partnership looks at ways to improve teaching by giving Jamaican teachers a different perspective
"It's not that in England we know how to do it because we have problems in our classrooms too," he said. "However, the experience of having a wider look at the world and looking at teachers doing different things is key education moving forward. Jamaica needs great mathematicians and scientists. This is what it's all about."
This May, the University will host 14 new ‘Champions', seven of which are principals from rural non-traditional Jamaican high schools. Their training will focus on leadership and management skills while the other members of the group look at innovative ways to teach maths and science in the classroom. All training will be given by experts from the University's Institute of Education.
The University of Reading is currently undertaking a major refurbishment of its London Road campus, the original home of the University in the heart of Reading.
The £30 million investment in the University's academic infrastructure will create a new London Road home for the University's Institute of Education, which trains nearly 1,000 teachers every year. The Institute will move to London Road in Summer 2011.
For all University of Reading media enquiries please contact James Barr, Press Officer tel 0118 378 7115 or email email@example.com
The University of Reading's Institute of Education is a major provider of teachers nationally and regionally, offering PGCE Secondary and Primary, BA (Ed) and the Graduate Teacher Programmes (GTP). The secondary programme and the primary programme have both received the top Ofsted grades in 2006/7 and the Institute is now a category 'A' provider for all our courses. The employment rates of our graduates are the highest in the University and the best in the country of any initial teacher training provider.