Primary school teachers hone Mathematics skills

Mathematics Teachers from the lower grades of primary schools across the country began a three day numeracy training workshop on Monday April 15th at the Public Service Training Centre (PSTC).

The training workshop, organized by the Ministry of Education and Human Resource Development in collaboration with Mac Millan Caribbean, is designed to improve the competency of principals and teachers in teaching the subject.

Chief Education Officer Stephenson Hyacinth in addressing the opening ceremony said there has been a noticeable trend that students are not doing as well as they should in mathematics.

Mr.Hyacinth is hoping that this week’s training will enhance the mathematical skills of teachers.

He noted that the Ministry is placing a lot of emphasis on the development of Mathematics skills.

He says developing the mathematical skills of all students of both primary and secondary schools is a major priority of the Ministry of Education and Human Resource Development.

“A large number of our students are reaching grade six level and they are unable to compute, we also see this happening at our Secondary schools and the CXC results reflect this trend. As a Ministry we are determined to change this picture around” he stressed.

For many students, Mathematics has been seen as difficult subject area, with only a selective few performing exceptionally well.

Mr. Hyacinth says teachers must challenge themselves to do more so that students can better excel at mathematics.

“Our challenge is to ensure that all of our students, who move through our schools, are able to be numerate in that they are able to do mathematical problems and enjoy mathematics. We are focusing on both the primary and secondary schools to ensure that”.

He said the Ministry goal at the primary school level is to ensure that all of our students are both literate and numerate to ensure a seamless transition to secondary school.

Hyacinth said further that” research has shown  that with the right tools, teachers who are confident, improvement oriented and who are prepared to Implement creative and innovative strategies in the classroom can in fact  make miracles with students and that these students can go on to be very successful.”

Meanwhile, Senior Education Officer in the Measurement and Evaluation Unit of the Ministry of Education Nicholas Goldberg stated that the majority of students are learning Mathematics below their grade level.

“When we do the grade two and grade four national assessments what we find is that only about thirty or forty percent are working at or above grade level “he stated.

Mr. Goldberg said in addition “the vast majority of children are one grade below their level”.

This he notes “is a tremendous problem as the difference tends to widen as the children get older”.

The Chief Education Officer has encouraged the teachers to be innovative and creative in teaching the subject of Mathematics.

“I encourage you as teachers to be innovative and creative because it is your ability to promote creativity and innovation in your day to day intervention, and relationship with students that will enable them to think outside the box, to be critical thinkers, to be problem solvers, to have a greater appreciation for Mathematics” remarked Hyacinth.

He urged them to “continue to be active participants in the whole teaching and learning process and to always seek to remain current and to enhance their ability to teach children with learning difficulties”.

Education Minister Hon. Petter Saint Jean also addressed the opening ceremony of the Mathematics Workshop.

The Mathematics workshop which ends on Wednesday is being facilitated by Mrs. Laurie Sealy.