GREAT Shape! Inc's 'Teach the Teachers' workshop, which has engaged hundreds of local principals and educators since 2015, will be addressing critical learning needs brought on by the novel coronavirus pandemic in sessions which started yesterday and are scheduled to end on August 5 at Godfrey Stewart High school in Savanna-la-Mar, Westmoreland.
It will focus on behavioural management, language arts, and computer training , with local educators practising new techniques in real time.
According to Great Shape! Inc volunteer and co-director for Teach the Teachers, Kait Fairchild, as schools across the island resume more frequent face-face lessons this year's training will examine innovative ways of stimulating learning.
"During the behaviour management workshops in week two we will address students' new and emerging social-emotional needs in the post-pandemic classroom. This will be done by focusing on strategies that build connection and community, teach students how to use self-regulation and self-awareness techniques to help modify problem behaviours, and give them a sense of belonging."
Fairchild noted that the team will also address students' regression in content areas by presenting ways to assess where students are academically so that educators can specifically address the students' needs. "Additionally, we will teach how to use movement in the classroom to stimulate students' interest and build their learning stamina," said Fairchild.
Heidi Clarke, executive director at the Sandals Foundation which is partnering with Great Shape! Inc, noted the importance of the professional support being provided by the Teach the Teachers workshop.
"The last two years have dealt a significant blow to the learning developmental needs of children across the world. Teachers will play a critical role in the COVID-19 recovery process, manoeuvring the new and evolving psycho-social needs of pupils, all while developing their literacy, numeracy and other foundational skills," said Clarke.
She further noted that the Sandals Foundation is grateful to have the continued support of the Great Shape team that has stayed the course, adjusting their curriculum to reflect the digital needs at the height of the pandemic and now, redoubling efforts to further support local educators in what will be a great task ahead.
The programme will be done under the tutelage of volunteer educators from the United Sates, Canada and Jamaica.
For the first time this year the Teach the Teachers workshop will offer sessions in numeracy development.
"Numeracy is an important skill for students' development and success in life and helps to develop logical thinking and reasoning strategies, and assists with problem-solving and many daily activities like budgeting, reading receipts, reading instructions and even playing sports," said Fairchild. She also noted that numeracy development has been found to have an impact on later life outcomes like earnings, productivity and better health outcomes.
Sandals Resorts International and its philanthropic arm, the Sandals Foundation, provide all logistical support for Great Shape! Inc volunteer missions across the Caribbean through the provision of complimentary accommodation at its resorts, transportation, daily meals at workshops, venue rentals when required, and other needs.