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Teachers told: You can fix our education problems

Teachers told: You can fix our education problems
By camille bethel camille.bethel@trinidadexpress.com
Story Created: Nov 9, 2013 at 9:14 PM ECT

Teachers have the solutions to the problems facing the education system in Trinidad and Tobago, international speaker, educator and author Richard Gerver has said.

Speaking at the Trinidad and Tobago Coalition of Services Industries annual forum at the Hilton Trinidad, St Ann’s earlier last week, Gerver said:

“Teachers are professionals and we are quite possibly the best of us, the most brilliant human leaders on the planet. Let’s stop with the silver bullet, let’s stop waiting on someone who is smarter to come and give us the answer, the answer can only come from within us.

“We have the answers, we have to trust our instincts more, we have to collaborate more, we have to have conversations and we have to find a system which is organic, a system that is constantly evolving and relates directly to the interests and purposes of our young people. Then and only then can we create an education system that is worthy of the most precious gifts man has had to offer our kids.”

Gerver told stakeholders that education was about passion, about people and not about systems or structures.

He said: “One thing we must never lose is the passion. If we are to truly create a future for our children and a future education system a number of things need to happen.

“Systems are reviewed every three to five years so what then happens is we work for that three to five years until the next review.

“Organisations going to the 21st century and the 22nd century that are most successful don’t have five-year development plans, they develop organically through continuous actual research, through continuous collaborations, through continuous conversations.”

Gerver added: “With all due respect, your curriculum now will be out of date by the time it is implemented.”

Gerver, who had the opportunity to interact with pupils from a few schools, gave examples from a visit he made last Thursday.

“I was talking to a group of your extraordinary students and they were talking about technology and some of the things they were talking about didn’t surprise me. First of all, when you talk to really sensible and mature students, boy, are they annoyed that they have to leave their cellphone and tablets at home because they are not allowed to use them in the school environment.

“We want to create a relevant education institution for our kids and we tell them to leave their technology at home, are we joking because they walk into our schools and they say okay, I’ll humour you because this is going to teach me nothing because at home on my cellphone in five minutes I can learn more than you can teach me in six months.”

He said in speaking with the pupils he was told they are all getting laptops and he found this was interesting.
“I went into one school and they had laptops but hardly any wireless Internet access. That’s like buying every child a Ferrari and there are no roads.
“Is that really a policy or is that just to say, ‘Look, I’ve given every child a laptop’,” he said.