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OAS holds workshop for teachers

Teachers are engaged in a two day workshop organized by the Organization of American States.  Reporter Johnelle McKenzie stopped by and has the story.

This year the Organization of American States (OAS) is holding a two day workshop in Belize as a part of its yearlong seventieth anniversary which is made possible through its Inter-American Teacher Education Network. Teachers will be trained in a number of disciplines including: critical thinking skills, the design and implementation of community projects in areas such as mathematics, science, reading and arts.  In his address, Starret Greene, the OAS Representative to Belize said that the OAS works to build flourishing and lasting partnerships with countries and the teachers have always been an essential part of strengthening this relationship.

Starrett Greene, OAS Representative to Belize: “No one whom I know in the field of education has doubted the indispensable role that teachers play in education and by extension their considerable influence in shaping neighborhoods, advancing communities and developing their countries. The Organization of American States wishes to acknowledge this remarkable and essential role and the OAS remains firmly committed to working through governmental and non governmental stakeholders to ensure that teachers in Belize and across our region continue to receive the recognition and support they rightly deserve to do the best job possible. The OAS having regard to it’s comparative advantage and human resource development will continue to encourage the promotion and implementation of policies throughout Latin America and the Caribbean that are designed to enhance the professional development of teachers. Policies that will bring about a new renaissance and return the teaching profession to its rightful and lofty status in society. Policies that will ensure that teachers are provided with the tools they need to teach as well as create an enabling environment to motivate and inspire our children to grow and learn and develop into model citizens. Finally policies that will help build productive partnerships between teachers and their communities, to improve learning and increase the involvement of parents in their children’s education.”

Dr. Padmanabhan Seshaiyer, the Associate Dean at George Mason University in the USA, is the facilitator of the workshop. Seshaiyer told the media that he will be working with the teachers to enhance their pedagogical capacities.

Dr.Padmanamhan Seshaiyer, Associate Dean, George Mason University, USA: “We need to understand that students are not just consumers of education anymore, they are actually producers of information. So it’s very important for educators to understand that philosophy of students as consumers moving to students as students as producers and even better students as peer reviewers so I think our jobs as educators is to really bring that type of philosophy into education and appreciate what they already know and bring it out in a meaningful way so that they can appreciate mathematics, they can appreciate subjects that they tend to not do well or shy away from just because it didn’t make sense to them. STEM stands for Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics and it is a way to present education in a holistic and meaningful way but by just having the disciplines of science, technology, engineering and mathematics without having the arts may not fulfill the holistic part. So in order to make it much more accessible and meaningful we have to incorporate A into stem which makes it STEAM and  without literacy none of these subjects make any sense so it has to include reading and writing and that’s the R so if you actually put the STREAM that makes it the ‘STREAM’ but then I just decided to expand that to ‘STREAMING’ because we stream movies, we stream audio we stream a lot of things so why don’t we stream education so why don’t we stream education. So STREAMING really stands for Science, Technology, Reading, Engineering, Arts, Mathematics to Inspire the Next Generation- that is the ING so that is what STREAMING stands for.”

Greene said that the workshop aims to contribute to the quality of education in Belize and allow for greater fairness and equity in the delivery of education services. OAS will also hold a similar workshop in Jamaica and the Bahamas.