120 teachers get training to better address learning disorders

120 teachers get training to better address learning disorders

Friday, September 20, 2019

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A total of 120 primary school teachers in 75 schools across seven parishes will be trained and certified in the use of the Lindamood-Bell Learning Processes, in order to diagnose and correct various language-based learning disabilities in students.

Under the six-month-long project, which is being funded by the Jamaica Social Investment Fund (JSIF) at a cost of $20.6 million, teachers will receive 350 hours of professional development training in the Lindamood-Bell Literacy Modules; 450 hours of professional development coaching; three years of ongoing instructional leadership development; and job-embedded coaching and teaching kits.

The training, which will be conducted by the Creative Language-Based Learning (CLBL) Foundation, is being financed under JSIF's Integrated Community Development Project and the Special Educator Needs Coordinator Phase Two.

A four-week session was held in the summer where teachers benefited from intensive professional development in order to better enable them to support the students.

Minister of state in the Ministry of Education, Youth and Information Alando Terrelonge welcomed the initiative, sayng it has the potential to revolutionise the education sector in Jamaica.

“When we have a creative learning-based platform that will assist children with learning disabilities, it is a win not just for the teachers who are being trained, but it is a win for all our thousands of Jamaican children who will now benefit from teachers who've educated themselves and gone through professional development,” he noted.

Terrelonge was speaking at the contract-signing ceremony with CLBL representatives at JSIF's headquarters in Kingston on Wednesday.

Minister without portfolio in the Office of the Prime Minister Michael Henry, in his remarks, said that the investment is a worthwhile one.

He noted that while the programme is intended to treat with students who have learning disabilities, including dyslexia, its benefits will extend to the wider education sector. He urged parents to support the initiative.

Meanwhile, JSIF's Managing Director Omar Sweeney said that the agency is pleased to be associated with a project that is addressing a critical area of the education sector. He noted that 40 per cent of JSIF projects are in the area of education.

“These sorts of innovative… experiential ways in which we can introduce methodologies to the mainstream is what we like to finance, and what we want to do from here on out is to continue to build from strength to strength. I'm sure that in the time to come, we will see the results of the students who have benefited from this programme,” he said.

Director of development at Lindamood-Bell, Dave Kiyvyra, said he hopes that the teachers will be positively impacted by the training.

“Our goal, really, is to help teachers learn this sort of methodology so that they can use it all of the time when they're teaching,” he said.

“We know that through all of the research that's been done at places like MIT (Massachusetts Institute of Technology), University of Washington, and University of Alabama, Birmingham, when they do functional magnetic resonance images of students brains, what they're seeing is that it's actually changing how their brain is functioning and that pathways are connecting that previously were not connected,” he noted.

The Lindamood-Bell programme, which was first taught to 50 teachers in Jamaica in 2017, was developed 30 years ago by Americans Patricia Lindamood, a speech language pathologist and Nanci Bell, a teacher and expert in literacy disorders.

It is useful for children with dyslexia, hyperlexia, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, central auditory processing disorder, autism spectrum disorders and other learning difficulties, helping them to access the underlying cognitive functions they need in order to be able to read.

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