The first webinar of a series of meetings was held within the framework of the teacher training reform project at the University of the West Indies, “Effective pedagogical practices in teacher training programs”, organized by SUMMA – Laboratory for Research and Innovation in Education for Latin America and the Caribbean – with the support of the Education Endowment Foundation (EEF), OECS, the International Development Research Center (IDRC) and the University of the West Indies.
The objective of this first meeting was to initiate discussion on reforming teacher education in the Eastern Caribbean by introducing effective pedagogical practices that enhance student learning and impact student performance in terms of feedback, collaborative learning and metacognition.
Rafael Carrasco, Deputy Director of SUMMA, thanked the speakers and the more than 50 attendees from institutions in the Eastern Caribbean, Guyana and Haiti for participating in this meeting, which presented the analysis of the metacognitive process and the tools and effective practices that teachers should incorporate to help teaching in the classroom. He also considered that the education sector at all levels must permanently seek possible answers to the questions: how can we prepare teachers; what are the most effective practices in the classroom; and how can we get teachers to implement them and incorporate them into the curriculum?
In this sense, SUMMA has been working intensively on issues of teacher professional development in the region. An example of this is the Chaka Program developed in collaboration with the Luksic Foundation and five high schools in Arica and Parinacota, Chile, which materializes in the classrooms, pedagogical strategies proven in the world and included in the Effective Practices Platform, such as metacognition, dialogue, collaborative reflection and formative feedback. These are key elements not only to empower students but also to transform classrooms into living spaces where teachers can play the role of mobilizers, facilitators of reflection and dialogue.
Amy Faux, International Project Manager at EEF, thanked SUMMA for the joint work and introduced the theme of the event, telling about the work they have been doing in relation to research, data collection and effective tools for teacher training.
Afterwards, Prof. Zemira Mevarech, senior lecturer and dean of the Faculty of Social Sciences at Bar-Ilan University (Tel Aviv) and Dr. Ornit Spektor-Levi, head of the science teacher training program and director of the Da-Gan Center – National Center for STEM Education Teachers in Preschool at Bar-Ilan University, presented the main features of the IMPROVE model and the 4 strategies and practices that are the basis of this approach: cognitive, social, emotional and sensorimotor, highlighting that “if we teach teachers that it is effective for students, they will learn how to teach and will have the confidence to teach it in the classroom”.
Closing the meeting, Dr. Joel Warrican, Dean of the Faculty of Education of the University of the West Indies* (Cave Hill), thanked SUMMA for its work to support the University’s efforts to reform the curricula of its two pre-service teacher training programs: the Associate Degree in Education and the Bachelor of Education, reforming the Primary Education component of the Associate Degree and creating a new Bachelor of Education in Primary Education. He also valued and thanked the EEF and IDRC for their cooperation and efforts to support the education sector in the Caribbean region. “We do not need excellent programs on paper, we need to put them into practice and we need to do it together, colleagues, governments, educators, everyone in Latin America, to create the positive change we need,” he said.
Finally, Raúl Chacón, director of KIX LAC, thanked the speakers for their presentation, highlighting the importance of continuing with these spaces for dialogue to learn from the different experiences at the global level and to be able to adapt them to the Latin American reality, promoting improvements in the region’s education systems.
*The University of the West Indies – Cave Hill works in 10 countries (Anguilla, Antigua and Barbuda, Barbados, British Virgin Islands, Dominica, Grenada, Montserrat, St. Kitts and Nevis, St. Lucia and St. Vincent and the Grenadines), and certifies an average of 275 teachers each year. This means that, in ten years, the new curriculum will have reached 20% of the region’s total workforce.