Primary school pupils with severe reading and writing difficulties will soon receive extra help from the nation’s teachers college, a senior education official said today.
Erdiston Teachers Training College is to set up a diagnostic centre to test children who may be identified by their teachers as having literacy issues, said Deputy Chief Education Officer Joy Adamson. Appointments would be set up for the children to be taken to Erdiston College by their parents for testing, she said.
Erdiston would then request the release of trained assessors to test and profile students, and develop intervention plans to be sent to their teachers, the official added.
She said: “The college will provide professional development training for all teachers who have students in the programme so that they are supported in the implementation of the intervention strategies developed by the centre.
“Some onsite assistance will also be provided by college tutors to teachers whose students are participating in the programme.”
Parents will also be able to get training in literacy development strategies through Erdiston’s Continuing Education programme in the Teaching of Reading Course so that they would be able to support their children as they work to overcome their deficits, the Deputy Chief Education Officer added.
Adamson spoke about the ministry’s plan to collaborate with the training college to increase the number of trained teachers in literacy education and assessment at the opening ceremony of the Literacy Diagnosis and Early Intervention Training Programme, at the college at Pine Hill, St Michael.
The programme is to train 22 teachers from the nursery, primary, and secondary levels in literacy diagnosis and early intervention strategies.
Erdiston’s principal Dr Patricia Saul said the assessors would be exposed to diagnostic testing, student profiling, and intervention strategies that could be used by teachers to implement programmes for students who have been tested and presented with certain deficits.
“The Chief Education Officer has given us the assurance that when the centre is opened, the trained assessors will be released from their regular duties on a one-day-a week basis to assist with the testing and intervention strategies for students as the need arises, Dr Saul said.”
The principal explained that Erdiston College has sought over the years to include a component on assessment in literacy courses, and has focused on measures that teachers can use to assess students in literacy.
The month-old training is being facilitated by Professor Emerita Hazel Simmons McDonald, the former Pro-Vice Chancellor and Principal of the University of the West Indies Open Campus, a veteran specialist in literacy diagnosis. [email protected]