Transformative math opportunity for TCI; Singapore style is coming
By Dana Malcolm
#TurksandCaicos, January 23, 2023 – Come February 9th teachers and parents in the Turks and Caicos will have an opportunity to begin the process of revolutionizing math education for our students residents thanks to a one on one with the “Micheal Jordan of Math’ Dr. Yeap Ban Har; regionally acclaimed for bringing Singapore Math for Students to the Caribbean region.
The event, born of a collaboration between Ashley’s Learning Centre and the Ministry of Education, will span two days and will expose TCI educators to the math teaching skills that cemented Singapore as one of the top countries in Mathematics globally.
Ban Har is hailed as an expert.
Kitts Cadette, in speaking to Magnetic Media recounted a conversation she had with the mathematician where he said, “You know when students are doing A-levels and you have to choose subjects and you choose one subject that you know you’re going to pass quite easily— in Singapore for students who do A-levels the easy subject is math.”
It’s a veritable 180 shift for us in the Caribbean where that sort of proficiency in math is hard to imagine. An educational consultant with four decades of experience in teaching and over six years of experience with bringing Singapore Math to the Caribbean, Cadette has seen firsthand what the method can do for regional countries.
She is now campaigning along with the staff of Ashley’s Learning Center in Providenciales, Turks and Caicos to get as many people proficient in the program as possible.
“This is a workshop for teachers, principals, ministry officials, curriculum officers, lecturers— We started the workshops in 2017, we have done Trinidad, we have done Barbados and other places. What we have seen is a different approach in terms of the way teachers execute math instruction. I have qualitative data from teachers who have attended past workshops that there has been improvement in the way they approach teaching math and as a result their children are better able to understand the concepts.”
Cadette said that schools which had experienced the sessions would shut school down for the day when the possibility of another session came around in order to allow all staff members to fully take part. She explains though that the program was is not a ‘magic bullet’ or easy fix for bettering math performances, rather it offered teaching strategies that could create a new mindset in teachers leading to preferred results.
“At the primary level every teacher teaches math, now unless the TCI is different from any other country, math is the subject most feared by students and teachers. Math is the subject teachers feel least competent in and so when they teach it, they teach it as they learnt it.”
This is what the workshop is trying to change.
“We know that there are challenges here in the Turks and Caicos with math and the challenges are evident based on the results of exit exams”
She maintained with this in mind it was doubly important to change our approach to one that actually works especially as the globe speeds towards a more tech related future.
“There is a lack of enthusiasm to teach–’ she acknowledged. “But to transform there has to be an enthusiasm, there has to be a spark. It is critical that efforts are made to have children really engaged in math.”
Even with all of the evidence that it works there needs to be collaboration to get the best results possible Cadette says it takes a system with politicians, policymakers, teachers and other stakeholders coming on board.
“The approaches and strategies are working but it isn’t only a matter of strategy we have to look at what are the policies in place– is there going to be adequate clinical supervision to ensure that it is properly implemented in our classrooms? It has to be a system wide attack.” she said.
“This is not a one day workshop that you come to for two days and math in the Turks and Caicos changes immediately– not all of us are mathematicians but as teachers and as parents there are some basic ways that we can improve the skills that we have.” she explained; maintaining that the workshop was a powerful start. Cadette emphasized the breadth of Ban Har’s commitment to take the multi day trip to the TCI for only two days and made a final call for everyone to take advantage of it.
“We hope that we will get the best kind of support from the TCI. We are trying to encourage as many people as possible to attend but we know that it will make a difference. We know people will leave energized.”
As for Ashley’s Learning Centre, Cadette said they realized that their reach could be far beyond the walls of their own institution and this ‘was an attempt to do just that’.
To be held February 9-11; register with email@example.com.
New ASHLEY’S LEARNING CENTRE CONCERT
#TurksandCaicos, March 17, 2023 – Musicians from the New World Symphony will be in the Turks and Caicos in concert next month and residents are invited to attend in support of the future of Ashley’s Learning Center.
A fairly young orchestral academy based in Miami, the New World Symphony was launched in the 1980s by 1987, Michael Tilson Thomas and Ted Arison,Carnival Cruises founder. From the 1500 applicants who vie for a spot each year, the symphony accepts around 35 music graduates annually for training fellowships.
A select few of those graduates will be in country on April 8th headlining at the Ashley’s Learning Center concert ‘We’re all in this together’. The concert which also feature local artistes will be held at Brayton Hall on Venetian Road from 6 pm to 8:30 pm
Tickets are available ON ISLEHELP $75 PER GENERAL SEAT $125 PER PREMIUM SEAT $195 PER GALLERY SEAT – with /FREFRESHMENTS.
For TICKET RESERVATIONs you can call: 649-341-2304 or email EVENTS@ASHLEYSLEARNINGCENTER.ORG
A short look at Celery
March 17, 2023 – Celery is a great food for people trying to lose weight or just put healthy meals on the table. It’s mostly made up of water and with only ten calories per stalk, you can add it into juices, salads, stir frys and more, without worrying about large amounts of sugar.
There are other health benefits as well. Healthline says it is rich in antioxidants, reduces inflammation, supports digestion and it can help with heartburn from spicy foods!
TCI farmers have hopped onto the celery train and the nutritious vegetable will be available to purchase, in a debut for celery, at the Farmers Market this Saturday March 18th from 8:30 am to 1pm.
On National Teachers Day, DG Commits to Better Pay
#TurksandCaicos, March 16, 2023 – Deputy Governor Anya Williams is committing to improvements in the public service including better wages. The Head of the Civil Service made the announcement in a recent National Teacher’s Day message.
“We recognize, commend, and applaud you for your service and promise our commitment to continue to work to improve the infrastructure, pay, and benefits, not only for teachers but also the wider public service.”
The announcement comes after the DG’s office released a tender for a consultant to reassess the pay grading scale for the entirety of the public service. Recognizing Education Week, Williams thanked the country’s teachers for their service throughout the years.
“In recognition of Teacher’s Day, I would like to express our profound thanks to teachers across the Turks and Caicos Islands, specifically highlighting the over four hundred teachers in our public service that give selflessly of themselves every day to educate, mold and inspire the future generations of these islands.”
Williams celebrated Education Week along with Rachel Taylor, Minister of Education and hundreds of teachers and students who participated in debates, field trips and the science fair sponsored by FortisTCI.
It was the first time in two years that the events were held on such a large scale because of COVID-19.
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