TEACHER EDUCATION IN THE COMMONWEALTH CARIBBEAN: CHALLENGES AND PROSPECTS – Belize 2010

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Errol Miller

INTRODUCTION

Distinguished ladies and gentlemen all let me thank the University Centre, and particularly Mrs Jane Bennett, for inviting me to give this public lecture this evening. I welcome the opportunity to speak in Belize on a subject with which I have been engaged continuously in the Commonwealth Caribbean for the last 35 years. Having retired from the University of the West Indies last year and having worked with teacher educators in Belize over the last 26 years I am approaching this lecture from the perspective of an oldster exiting the scene having a conversation with the generation that must continue the work that some of us took over from our elders in the profession. More than giving the Lecture I look forward to the question and answer session.

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SUSTAINING 21ST CENTURY TEACHERS: RAISING THE BAR

Madam Chairman, Honourable Minister Patrick Faber, Minister of Education, Youth and Sports, Chief Executive Officer, Mr. David Leacock, Chief Education Officer, Mr. Christopher Aird and other officials of the Ministry of Education, Dr Cynthia Thompson Assistant Provost, University of Belize, President of the Belize National Teachers Union, Mr. Luke Palacio and Executive Secretary, Ms. Keisha Young, colleague teachers, colleagues of universities and colleges, distinguished presenters of papers at this Conference, participants, invited guests and long-time Belizean friends who I see in the audience, it is a great privilege to be asked to give the keynote address at this conference. Having retired from the University of the West Indies and public responsibilities, whenever I am invited to give keynote addresses or public Lectures, my assumption is that most likely I will not have another opportunity. I, therefore, approach the Theme ‘Sustaining 21st Century Teachers: Raising the Bar’ possessed of the compulsion to give of the best of what I have learned and from the core of my beliefs. Continue reading

ARE THE TRADITIONAL ROLES OF TEACHERS’ UNIONS CHANGING?

 

North American and Caribbean dialogue in education takes place across widely different circumstances of means and resources yet it would be misleading and erroneous to apply the conventional First World/ Third World or developed/underdeveloped categorisations. Largely because of our common colonial history both North America and the Caribbean share a similar history of the creation and operation of school systems. There are several schools in the Caribbean that have operated continuously for over 250 years. For example, Combermere in Barbados recently celebrated its 300th anniversary as a school. Wolmers in Jamaica is approaching its 300th anniversary. Continue reading

VIRTUAL AND NOT REAL SAVINGS IN EDUCATION

 Errol Miller

 We are living in the age of virtual reality. It is possible to simulate the real by giving the feeling and appearance of the actual. This is an excellent tool for learning. Simulation has great possibilities in education. However, the application of simulation to schools and school systems is still in its infancy. It is not possible to train pilots by simulating flying in machines that never leave the ground but give the trainee pilots all of the sights and sensations of flying an aircraft. It is still not possible to do good simulations of the interactions between students and teachers in the classroom. Continue reading