Teachers hail British Council core skills programme

Career & Education

Teachers hail British Council core skills programme

Sunday, November 12, 2017

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Teachers who participated in the British Council's Introduction to Core Skills Training workshops in Kingston and Montego Bay from October 17-26 are reporting.

Mathematics and science teacher at Glenmuir High School, Nathaniel Stewart, for example, described the intervention as “innovative and applicable to real-world situations”.

“It offers myself and colleagues the opportunity to engage students using new techniques such as deep questioning and thinking, as well as how to engage digital technology in any subject area,” he said.

Stewart reiterated the importance of problem-solving skills and how it benefits students in bridging the school-to-work gap and navigating adulthood.

Project manager in education at the British Council, Nadene Newsome, told the Jamaica Observer that the response from teachers island-wide has been overwhelming.

“We are oversubscribed each time we put an open call for training,” she said.

Over the period, 80 teachers from 30 schools in western Jamaica, Kingston, St Andrew and St Catherine were exposed to techniques that will enable them to impart skills to students to solve potential problems, create innovative solutions and facilitate constructive relations among diverse groups of people in everyday classroom sessions.

The British Council explained that the core skills programme, designed to infuse a particular set of soft or people skills into student learning, is targeting head teachers, senior leaders, middle managers and classroom teachers at the secondary, primary and early childhood level to provide new tools and strengthen current teaching practices.

“The programme enables students to develop skills and competencies to meet 21st-century needs as teachers enhance their own teaching and learning techniques,” Newsome said.

“Accompanying this cohort of training is a baseline survey of the students whose teachers are trained in the British Council Introduction to Core Skills Training programme. The findings will be instructive in evaluating student impact before and after training,” she added.

The list of core skills and competencies are:

• Critical thinking and problem solving;

• Collaboration and communication;

• Creativity and imagination;

• Citizenship;

• Digital literacy;

• Student leadership and personal development.

They can be utilised throughout the curriculum and infused in any subject or lesson, the British Council said.

To date, 140 teachers from 60 institutions have participated in the British Council Introduction to Core Skills training workshops.

Plans are advanced to implement introductory workshops for teachers of special needs students in early December as part of a Diversity and Inclusion Summit and Disabilities Awareness Week 2017. In January, the focus will be on school leaders, and advanced core skills workshops are slated to begin in February.

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