Teacher Education – Ministry of Education Setting High Standards

Saturday, February 20th, 2016

Submitted by Golda Swift (M. Ed.)

Guest-Editorial-Logo“Education is not a preparation for life: education is life itself”… John Dewey
To be a teacher is to undertake a phenomenal profession, which should be taken with pride, dignity and most importantly responsibility. The education of a nation demands that educators are equipped with the necessary pedagogies, methodologies, skills, knowledge and attitude to be an effective teacher. These, however; can only be attained through formal education where teachers are exposed to receiving the theoretical and practical forms of educational development. In the earlier days of schooling in Belize, the demand for teacher training was not as rigid as now. In those days, children were not exposed to the internet and other forms of technological media and gadgets which transcend and transfigure the cognitive, psychomotor and affective domains of an individual. It is therefore; imperative that teachers keep abreast with the 21st Century movement of technological awareness, and the many demands that challenge our education system today. It has then become necessary and important that proper training of our teachers and educators be done to meet the standards of a growing, dynamic, and evolutionary nation.
In today’s society, the education of our children has become a challenge. Children are not only exposed to interconnectivity of the world through the internet but, they are challenged with the realization that some schools no longer meet their expectations as school life has been watered down with boring sessions of repetition, inactive and uninteresting modes of instruction. It is therefore vital that teachers become properly trained to meet those demands that the education system is being faced with while also meeting the standards of students’ expectations. Being fully trained will enable teachers to become knowledgeable enough to address the needs of the children in their classrooms and prepare well thought out Annual, Units and Lesson Plans. As a result, this will challenge students to become analytic critical thinkers and move them towards the era of independent learners where they will become developers and head the chain of command in this our 21st century. In my estimation, the stagnation of our education has not only given itself to teachers lacking the pedagogical training and background, but teachers also losing and not applying their love and interest to this noble profession.
The Ministry of Education’s standpoint is to address unqualified teachers that are presently employed in the school system; however, the need remains likewise that teachers should look beyond their call of duty and become lovers of education, where they will invest the time, energy, applicability to synergize students to become well-rounded individuals of mind, body and spirit. This is in realizing that the responsibility of a teacher is extraordinary and it requires teachers to be intrinsically motivated in order for them to perform at their highest calling. Our goals, therefore, are not only to acquire the training that has become principal in this field of work but, to ensure that teachers develop great love, care and devotion to being a teacher. In doing this, they will be imparting the values, behaviours and morals necessary for students to become functional, contributing members in society.
It stands to reason that every sector within the school system has a role to play. There is a need for proactive 21st leaders and administrators who demonstrate assertive qualities to allocate financing by developing proposals that will garner financial support from governmental organizations, NGOs or the private sectors. This will aid in the implementation of new, improved and innovative activities and programs that will keep children enthused and interested in coming to school. This includes developing and adapting programs that meet the needs of our schools based on geographical locations and student’s cognitive and academic needs and abilities. It also does not exclude networking within schools and among schools in order to achieve the common goals of education. Incorporating the abilities and talents that may exist in our schools and expanding our vision to the sustainability of our education system is also a necessary component to move towards the 21st century education.
These [ideas] are only a fraction of what we as educators need to do to transform our educational system. Consequently, Belize has to join the ranks of countries internationally as we become part of a global network. We must align ourselves with the standards that are necessary to optimize the delivery and effectiveness of a growing, dynamic and evolutionary nation. There is much work that needs to be done, but there has to be a starting point where teachers will be held accountable and made to realize that in order to be a part of any educational system they must be properly trained and certified. I wholeheartedly affirm what Nelson Mandela said, “Education is the most powerful weapon you can use to change the world.”


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