The schools’ Positive Behaviour Management Programme is essentially another tool to better prepare educators to deal with discipline and sustaining student interest in what is going on in the classroom.
This was emphasised today as Chief Education Officer, Laurie King, spoke to principals and guidance counsellors attending a half-day sensitisation workshop on SPBMP, at the United Nations House, Marine Gardens, Christ Church.
“An enormous amount of time is lost because we have challenges dealing with ensuring that there is sufficient order in the classroom — which is essentially the definition of discipline,” King said.
While pointing out that some people even referred to discipline as a by-product of good teaching, he told the participants that at the end of the training they should go away with a sense of empowerment in terms of their ability to deliver quality education at the level of the school and to reduce time lost in terms of dealing with infractions.
Recalling that his best days were spent at school, the former educator said: “We have to make the school environment a place where students feel comfortable, happy and where they would want to be. We have a responsibility to ensure that the young charges, who are placed before us, go away on a daily basis feeling the same way about us.
“When you have a situation at a school where a student says, ‘I like Mr. X or Ms. Y’, when you check to find out why …, it is because they feel comfortable working with them and they feel that Mr. X and Ms. Y have their interest at heart.”
Principals and guidance counsellors, heard too that they needed to recommit and rededicate themselves to ensuring that school remained a place where teaching and learning occurred in an environment where all were happy and where they felt they wanted to be.
The education chief advised: “If you reach a point where you can no longer sustain the kind of self-motivation for a prolonged period of time, then it would be time for you to get out. I would urge you to do so if you feel that way because teaching is not the kind of undertaking where you can take your eyes off the target for even a split second; you always have to be committed; you always have to feel a sense of pride and belonging in what you do.”
Meanwhile, UNICEF Representative, Khin Sandi Lwin, noted that SPBMP was Barbados’ “way of putting its stamp and its very direct naming of an approach that UNICEF has globally called the Child Friendly School Initiative”.
Echoing similar sentiments to King’s, she said: “In Barbados, all schools are child friendly… SPBMP is not just about dealing with corporal punishment. It’s about making schools a place where children feel safe, [and] where they want to come.
“Not that parents have to push them out and make sure that they get there and don’t slip out; so that the joy of learning, the need for inclusiveness of education and the need for a child-centred approach in that learning-teaching transaction takes place.”
The sensitisation workshop was geared towards schools not yet on board with the programme and it was undertaken by the Ministry of Education, Science, Technology and Innovation in conjunction with UNICEF.