Close to two hundred educators across Hanover, Westmoreland and St. Elizabeth have learnt new techniques to boost literacy rates and motivate their students.

The capacity-building workshop, titled Teach the Teachers focused on language arts, behavioral management, and computer skills training. It was hosted at the Godfrey Stewart High School recently.

The programme was executed by the United States charity organization – Great Shape! Inc., with logistical support from the Sandals Foundation and full endorsement from the Ministry of Education.

Great Shape! Inc volunteer, Vicki Zimmerman, said honing skills in effective classroom behavioral management is important to creating a positive learning environment to enhance students’ academic skills and competencies, as well as their social and emotional development.

Behavior Management skills are important for any teacher. Without behavior management, we cannot control the classroom, and if the classroom is out of control, it’s difficult for the children to learn and be productive.”

Great Shape! Inc. volunteer, Kathy Farris reviews what former New Tender Heart Pre-School teacher, Beverly Gray created during the computer skills class at the Great Shape! Inc. Teach the Teacher workshop at Godfrey Stewart High in Savanna-La-Mar.

Zimmerman says the workshops allow teachers to learn new behavior management techniques.

What works for one teacher may not work for another. The workshop provides an opportunity for everyone to share their experiences and subsequently learn new techniques they can try.”

Krista Jaye, a teacher from Content Primary and Infant in Darliston, says the program has been instrumental in developing practical skills for positive accountability in her classroom.

For Beverly Gray, previously of the New Tender Heart Pre-School in Montego Bay, the computer classes were most helpful.

I’m grateful for the opportunity to learn computer basics, I once had some skills but it’s been years since I’ve been on a computer, so I’m happy to be learning these skills again.”

Krista Jaye McFarlane from Content Primary and Infant in Darliston, Westmoreland shows off this new IPad she won for being punctual every day.

The Teach the Teachers programme was launched in Jamaica in 2011 initially providing computer classes to educators. The programme subsequently evolved to sharing contemporary skills training in language arts techniques and classroom management for teachers of early-childhood institutions through to grade 6 teachers at the primary level.

International volunteers who specialize in the core training areas serve from the U.S., Canada and other countries.

The Sandals Foundation has been a partner of Great Shape Inc. since 2003 assisting in educational development programmes for students and teachers as well as health care initiatives including dental and eye care projects.

Meet the Great Shape! Inc. Teach the Teachers power team; (l-r) Eugen Johnson, Gretchen Lee, Georgia McClaskey, Kathy Farris, Georgene Crow, Susan Kahler and Ray Malik.
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