(EMU) – St. Kitts, March 10, 2017: The Ministry of Education has advertised a consultancy geared at improving student achievement and maximizing potential through the introduction of differentiated instruction in the Federation’s schools. Presently in the Federation’s classrooms instruction remains largely teacher-centred and not configured to cater to the multiple learning needs of students. The emphasis has been on covering the curriculum rather than pacing instruction towards the mastery of the goals of the curricula by students. Differentiated instruction requires assessing individual learning needs by way of a diagnostic system that will assess learning deficits and devise appropriate interventions strategic for student success. The differentiated classroom utilizes a print rich classroom environment, uses continuous assessment to inform instruction and monitor progress, as well as enquiry based approaches- known to promote mastery for all students.
The teacher centred classroom on the other hand focuses on whole class instruction, extensive use of the chalkboard and texts, as well as static assessment procedures that produce lower level competencies.
Chief of Education Planning Dr. Neva Pemberton, explained that the teacher training focus on differentiated instruction has been limited and as a result, effective practitioners are not pervasive throughout the basic education cycles. She added that mainstreaming the learner-centred approach to teaching and learning is a priority for the Ministry of Education.
The consultancy to address this issue will include conducting observations in a sample of primary and secondary schools, the development of a training programme to fill gaps and deficits in classroom instruction, recommendations of the pedagogical resources that would be required to carry out effective differentiated instruction and a training workshop for the trainers.
The consultant will work closely with a number of key personnel including the Director of the Curriculum Development Unit, Chief Education Officer, Student Support Services Officer, and the Head Teachers Education Department at the Clarence Fitzroy Bryant College.
Additionally, the consultant will report to the Project Coordinator and consult with education officers and subject coordinators. According to the Chief of Education Planning, the consultancy requires a maximum of 50 days over a 6-month period and training would be done where possible in a manner that minimizes disruption to schools.
The requirements for the consultant include expertise in differentiated instruction and teacher training, academic qualifications in teacher education at the post-graduate level and experience in training, as well as knowledge of the region.