Bridgetown, Barbados 5 June 2017. On May 31 st – June 1 st , 2017, The Caribbean Science Foundation (CSF) and the Caribbean Academy of Sciences (CAS) collaborated with the Dominica Ministry of Education and Human Resource Development to host the final in the current series of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) Teacher Training Workshops for regional primary school teachers. Held at the at the Public Service Union Building in Roseau, this two-day workshop served a total of 26 teachers from Antigua and Barbuda, Barbados, St. Kitts and Nevis and St. Lucia. The workshop was made possible by grant funding from the Embassy of the United States of America to Barbados, the Eastern Caribbean and the OECS.
The goal of the STEM Teacher Training Workshops is to train teachers in the use of Problem Based Learning (PBL) and Inquiry Based Science Education (IBSE) as teaching tools. In his feature address, Minister of Education and Human Resource Development, The Honorable Petter Saint-Jean, commended the CSF and CAS for undertaking the initiative, and made the point that the critical thinking skills developed through STEM could be the catalyst to further develop the innovation which the Caribbean Region needs. Chief Education Officer, Mrs. Melana Fontaine, echoed similar sentiments, and urged the participants to take full advantage of the information presented, in order to implement it in their school communities upon their return to the classrooms. Also present were mathematics and science curriculum officers from the Ministry, as well as Assistant Chief Education Officer, Dr. Jeffery Blaize.
The teachers took on the role of the student over the two days of the workshop. They worked in teams to perform fun and engaging tasks and experiments, all of which can be implemented in their classrooms. Also, they were introduced to the UNESCO-approved Microscience kits, which are essentially miniaturized packaged laboratories. Each participating teacher received one kit to augment their delivery of STEM. The training was provided by experienced CAS facilitators, including: Dr. Winston Mellowes, Professor Emeritus, The University of the West Indies UWI St. Augustine; Dr. Rowena Kalloo, UWI St. Augustine; Mrs. Petal Jetoo, National Science Coordinator, Ministry of Education Guyana; Dr. Cathy-Ann Radix, Lecturer, UWI St. Augustine; Professor Theodore Lewis, Professor Emeritus, UWI St.
Augustine; and Professor Bhuall Nand Kumar, New York Institute of Technology (NYIT).
At the conclusion of the workshop, one teacher wrote, “the practical activities were fun and easy to implement. I cannot wait to try these with my class – they are going to have so much fun!” A second teacher wrote, “this was the best science workshop I have ever attended! The facilitators are knowledgeable and made learning exciting.”
For more information, please visit the Web pages of the STEM Teacher Training Workshops at http://caribbeanscience.org/projects/stem_teacher_training_workshops.php