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Higher standard needed for persons to become teachers, Wheatley tells region

Dr Natalio Wheatley

Persons who are interested in becoming educators should be made to meet a higher standard before being allowed to do so.

According to regional online news media, iNews Guyana, Education Minister Dr Natalio Wheatley made that comment while delivering remarks at a Caribbean Community (CARICOM) consultation exercise in Guyana last week.

“We cannot expect students who are not properly learned to properly teach, so it is imperative to set a high threshold for those seeking to enter the profession; as is the case with law and medicine,” Dr Wheatley reportedly said at the event geared at reviewing existing teaching standards in the region.

“If one would not want a C student operating on their body, one should not tolerate a C student operating on the young minds of the nation,” Dr Wheatley added.

The Guyanese news media reported that Dr Wheatley said persons interested in pursuing the profession should be made to possess a diversified skillset.

This skillset, he said, should include the ability to educate with the use of technology.

“Teachers must be equipped to teach students who are not only visual learners but who learn through doing, who are tactile and auditory. Teachers must learn to use technology to enhance the learning experience. Teachers must be trained in identifying students who have learning disabilities and recommend them for support services as necessary,” said the minister who is a scholar and former educator.

The CARICOM education meeting consisted of an estimated 100 participants, including education officials in the region, teachers, representatives from teacher organisations, academics, parent-teacher association representatives, pre-service educators, teacher trainees, among other education stakeholders.

According to CARICOM, the event was held on July 17 and was facilitated through a partnership with the CARICOM Secretariat, UNESCO and others.

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16 Comments

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  1. Resident says:

    That is so true. Higher standards are needed for potential teachers, present teachers, administrators and workers at the Ministry of Education. We need to raise the standards as a whole in the B.V.I. Teachers in the classroom and stuck for years with an Associate’s from H.L.S.C.C. Some of them are doing nothing to upgrade themselves. They are still using the old methods of teaching and want good results. They are failing our children. Teachers must never stop learning.School had become one big drag with the children not being challenged and the teachers just comfortable going to work to do the minimum. Many of them do not care because their pay is straight on the 15th and 30th of every month. Don’t talk about some principals. They care less than the teachers. They are the real problems with their unprofessional behaviours and constantly acting like bullies. They don’t know how to speak to children. their parents and worst yet the teacher. So Yes, the standards need to be raised all around ASAP. Now, Mr.Minister. Put your money where your mouth is and start putting into place what is needed to have higher standards. Don’t just talk the talk, let’s walk the walk…

    Like 12
    Dislike 1
    • Oh? says:

      Yes but why are we lowering the standards for the kids to pass from one stage to the other in school then? We cannot speak from two sides of our mouth when it comes to the education of our youngsters. The high standards needs to be across the board and not trying to single out one set over the other. We need higher standards for parents, students AND teachers! They all go hand in hand and one cannot go without the other.

      Like 21
  2. Right says:

    Do more for the same pay? some things go hand in hand and I hope they will reconsider teach salary when pushing for higher standards.

    Like 15
    Dislike 1
  3. Front Line Warrior says:

    “We cannot expect students who are not properly learned to properly teach,” Minister Wheatley said. Agreed upon.

    Certainly, if students are not properly learned at the high school level, would said students be properly learned at the tertiary teacher training level, if the teacher training is in fact producing C student teachers? Then, where does teacher learning and training begin, in high school or on tertiary level indoctrination?

    If the latter is correct, then the onus must be placed on the teacher training programs to produce the requisite skilled individual. As is the doctor or lawyer, that individual should enter the profession equipped with the pedagogic knowledge, instructional skills, and with the gifted and innate aptitudinal capacity to facilitate, execute and transfer learned knowledge, not just of subject matter material, to the class student environment. Perhaps this is where the message of the Hon. Minister was directed?

    Meanwhile, in contemporary actualities, however, there are many who are equipped to and do teach all learners, the visual; the action oriented; the tactile, auditory and multifaceted learner, and who are also skilled in recognizing learning disabilities within the environment, and make the required decisions when needed.

    Further, most teachers today understand the critical role of technology to augment teaching and learning. However, one may be a master chef, but if one does not have the tools and products at hand, one cannot begin to, much less create a successful master dish.

    Likewise, if technological capabilities are not within the classroom, the teacher cannot access or utilize them to boost his/her teaching, the lesson, or magnify learning of the student. Herein exist a major neglected educating link in the past to current management of the system in the 21st.

    Consequently, monies must be prioritized, increased and redirected towards classroom instructional tools. Such will improve greatly the skills and hard work of teachers.

    In addition, the teaching profession, teaching requirement standards and the teacher can be vastly enhanced where there are adequate financing for sufficient training, teaching and classroom resources.

    And, last but not least, the human person that is first before the teacher. The care for the wellbeing of the women and men in the profession lacks hygiene!

    Not just in the provision of tools and materials, but most importantly, the cleansing of the subtle and often overt disrespect of individuals by administrators.

    Forthwith, all teachers, humanly and professionally must be respected. Certainly, the inattention to and, the subsequent lack of resolution of teachers’ grievances, the blatant indifference and disregard thereto, and the lack of timely salary upgrades, all contribute to the inefficiency of teaching standards.

    Hence, the administration of the teaching profession needs hygiene! Indeed, there is a direct correlation between a satisfied mind and the productivity of that mind.

    To end, the human will first satisfy the existential basics of food, shelter and security, before he will strive to accomplish higher human ideals or doctrines.

    Likewise, the requisite teacher tools, materials and technology are the mere basics, where a decent salary, human respect and other ethical considerations are trampled.

    • Action says:

      We often look at the shortcomings of teachers but rarely ever look at any of the other factors that create barriers to learning. Past and present administrations have been quick to highlight deficits in teaching skills but rarely ever focus on those factors that the Ministry of Education are responsible for. If the minister would like to see more use of technology he should equip schools with such tools (computers, printers, internet, etc). Let’s not forget books, educational games and art supplies andj an environment that is conducive to learning.

      We should also consider factors such as class size , overloaded curriculums, teacher workload (as the demands on teachers go far beyond the act of instructing), additional academic supports and having a team of managers that actually have a clear vision of where we want to go as a territory and how we plan to get there.

      Bottom line, there is much work to be done. Less talk and more action! Mr. Minister, we are counting on your leadership.

      Like 5
      Dislike 1
      • Believe says:

        I believe that teachers need to show the children more love and try to know something of their students. And teachers buying pencils and art supplies for your students will not hurt you all pockets not everything is money bless a student and your other blessings will come. Money money money show love

  4. Confused says:

    Higher standards for Teachers yet lowering the standards for the kids to pass? Yep, makes sense! SMH!

    Like 17
  5. Ausar says:

    I’m sorry Dr. Wheatley, but it appears that you know very little about medical education-national medical education, that is.

    For you see, most medical schools in the nation, grade on the curve. Were it not for those curved grades, most students would fail medical school.

    And that would bode ill for the standing of the school, federal certifications and the continued presence of the dean for that medical institution.

    So yes, many physicians in practice across America and abroad, have gotten their degrees by the curve.

    Their effectiveness as physicians are not lessenned because testings were conducted upon completion of their studies to ensure that they met minimal qualifications for graduation and eventual practice!

    Now as it applies to teaching in the American system of education, teachers earning a C during their studies, are no less an educator than one earning an A!

    Again, certifying testing methodolgies ensure that all teachers meet minimal standards prior to certification!

    So, perhaps the certifying methodologies applied to teaching in the BVI is substandard and in a need of some form of “Americanization” or “Britainization”, why many teachers here graduated with As and many students in the public school system are still considered ” behind the eight ball”!

    Perhaps,you may be correct Dr. Wheatley, that certifying standards need to be improved!

  6. Teacher says:

    I hope this means higher pay for such teachers as well.

  7. vip heckler says:

    Higher standards needed for people to become politicians/ministers also

    Like 11
    Dislike 1
  8. He doesn’t have a clue says:

    This is ironic. The minister is asking for higher standards for persons to enter the teaching profession yet he is lowering the pass mark for students to leave secondary education. This is quite a paradox. The same way you made a long, convoluted statement to justify the lowering of the grades, use the same enthusiasm to make one for lowering the standards for teachers too. At least there would be some consistency in your policy. Lowering for the win!

    Like 15
    Dislike 2
  9. VILander says:

    Makes sense to me. Better teaching skills will make for better learning. Everything has a foundation. Only someone unlearned in education would say that he lowered the standards for students and now wants to raise the standard in teaching. Start with new techniques for teaching with different methods better student grouping for co-op learning will produce better results. Then we can expect the students to pass with higher standards…basically it’s the only way it will work.

    Like 4
    Dislike 3
    • Not! says:

      Improvement in educating and, most critical of all, is where parents and society make the paradigm shift in values, to what is more important and what is not for continued progression of current and future generaations and country.

      Whether accumulating monetary wealth at all cost is the correct value system, or the development of the mind through learning and acquisition of knowledge is of the greater value to be adopted and practiced.

      Systems of existence can be fixed where need be, but the human mental orientation always dictate whether those systems are fixed to achieve the greater good.

      The human value systems of this and other communities are twarted, broken and miguided. Thus, our evident problems.

  10. TBS says:

    What is most valued by society is the key as school is a microcosm of any society. Too many students are of the opinion that they can make money without a formal education. This is hammered home as many parents hold more than one job; so they go from job to job on any given day.

    There are many proficient teachers, but students who seem to be aiming to cultivate slightly used brains – no homework or studying done, cheating, plagiarism, hermone-driven, and driven to talk and not think or reason.

  11. Blah says:

    Lowering the pass mark does not mean that you are lowering the standards for students to become teachers. No student with only a diploma can become a teacher so the point is irrelevant. The students have to go training and various certifications through other levels of education in colleges and universities as well.

  12. Guyana says:

    Import them from Guyana

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