CPCE, UG educators undergo special needs training

-as part of intensive coaching programme

Lecturers of the Cyril Potter College of Edu-cation (CPCE) and the University of Guyana (UG) Faculty of Education and Humanities on Friday marked the successful completion of one stage of the Guyana Improving Teacher Education Project (GITEP) at the closing ceremony of the Intensive Coaching Programme, held in the CPCE Convention Centre.

The intensive coaching programme saw a team of lecturers from the University of Mount Saint Vincent, in Canada, conducting year-long interactive training. The team, led by Professor Andrew Manning, led sessions in the areas of Literacy, Mathematics, Science and Special Education Needs (SEN).

At the closing ceremony, the participants shared with those present some of the things they learned and particularly highlighted the training they had received in SEN.

Participants and facilitators of the Intensive Coaching Program along with Chief Education Officer Olato Sam (seated second at left) and Coordinator of the Guyana Improving Teacher Education Project Tota Mangar (seated at right).
Participants and facilitators of the Intensive Coaching Program along with Chief Education Officer Olato Sam (seated second at left) and Coordinator of the Guyana Improving Teacher Education Project Tota Mangar (seated at right).

Dr Mary Jane Harkins, instructor in SEN, led the participants of her programme in a reader’s theatre, where they encouraged teachers to respect all learners, echoing the fact that Special Education Needs is inclusivity, diversity and adaptability. SEN, they said, recognises how “they learn differently” and respects all learners.

Harkins noted that the aim of the intensive coaching programme was to create a core group of educators who can support colleagues and educate teacher students on how to address students with exceptionalities and those who struggle in the regular class room. They will be bringing the tools of the 21st century to the everyday Guyanese classroom, she said.

The participants then presented to guests material they had created during the programme; guests were able to see operationalisation of the Universal Design for Learning (UDL), which caters for the different ways students learn.

Through the UDL, students are engaged in the style of learning which best suits their needs. It is a three-stage approach, which includes multiple means of acquiring information and multiple means of expressions and engagement. They also incorporate several technological devices and computer applications to foster the specialised development of learners

Lecturers who participated in the programme shared how their teaching and the learning of their students have been positively impacted by the addition of the iPads, which have allowed for the incorporation of special teaching applications that are able to gauge learning outcomes and address specific deficiencies. They called for the inclusion of these materials in all classrooms across Guyana. Meanwhile, Tota Mangar, project coordinator of GITEP, told those gathered at the closing session that this programme is part of a GITEP subcomponent, which aims to strengthen the teacher educators at CPCE and UG.

Chief Education Officer Olato Sam noted that too often “teachers mirror the teaching they receive,” so it is necessary that in the short term the participants of the program are able to share with their students the best practices they have learned and that in the long term continuous professional development be-comes embedded in CPCE.

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