Mathematics for Empowerment and Enjoyment is the theme of a programme to improve the performance of RC primary pupils by enhancing the skills of their teachers.
This intervention follows analysis of the performance of RC schools in the National Tests over the years which indicated “teachers in Second Year Infants and Standard Two needed significant pedagogic support”. The plan is to train a cohort of 240 Second Year and the same number of Standard Two teachers.
The programme started in May comprising 60 sessions and ends November. Participants attend a total of six sessions with each having a two to three-week interval. The training takes place 8.30 a.m. – 3 p.m. at three venues: St Charles RC Parish Hall, Tunapuna; Santa Rosa House, Arima and Christ the King Church Hall, Les Efforts, San Fernando.
A release from the Catholic Education Board of Management (CEBM) stated “To date 15 of the sessions have been held, the remaining 45 sessions are scheduled for next term”.
The training, conducted by mathematics consultant Selwyn McKnight will cover six topics: Number, Statistics, Measurement, Geometry, Item Writing, Evaluation methods. In 2016, McKnight conducted training for teachers of Standard One and Three classes.
A direct teacher development concept is being used with each teacher exposed to “an intensive six-session Mathematics Interactive Hands-on Development Workshop” covering the six areas.
The programme is part of the CEBM’s Quality Assurance Standards for Catholic teachers which encompasses among other things “Quality Teaching Professionals”.
It noted research showing quality teaching impacted on student learning. It cited the Centre for High Impact Philanthropy (2010), “A quality teacher is one who has a positive effect on student learning and development through a combination of content mastery, command of a broad set of pedagogic skills, and communications/interpersonal skills”. There has been positive feedback from teachers who have received training.