Sandals Foundation and Great Shape! Inc. Collaborate to Increase Literacy with Innovative Teaching Techniques

~ Free Workshops for Area Educators: Teach the Teachers 2016 ~

Great Shape! Inc., the Sandals Foundation and the Ministry of Education will once again collaborate on a series of Teach the Teacher workshops, starting today, August 2nd through to August 12th at the Godfrey Stewart High school in Savanna-la-Mar.

Great Shape! Inc.’s Teach the Teachers project focuses on language arts, behavioral management, and computer training. These workshops will offer area educators and members of Parent Teacher Associations free innovative training to increase language arts skills in Jamaica, while preparing them for the educational changes being implemented by the Ministry of Education as they practice new techniques in real time.

The Teach the Teachers programme was first launched in Jamaica in 2011 with computer classes for Jamaican educators. Realizing the impact of the initial programme, educators requested additional training in language arts techniques and classroom management.

Today, the programme attracts volunteers from around the world, particularly the U.S., Canada, and Jamaica, who specialize in these areas.

For the first time, Great Shape! Inc.’s Teach the Teachers will implement a “model classroom”, called “Kids Camp”. This is an opportunity for local educators to observe the new teaching techniques in action with local students. Workshop participants will then have a broader understanding of how the strategies impact the children and their academic and social development.

“We are especially excited to launch Kids Camp. In our past workshops, teachers learned and practiced the new techniques with each other. Now they’ll be able to experience the techniques first hand, with the children,” says long time educator and volunteer, Alicia Palmer of the U.S.

Great Shape! Inc. uses an application process to select the top 60 volunteers to serve in Jamaica. These volunteers pay a project fee of $750US and their own airfare. This year the Sandals Foundation will host the teams at Sandals Whitehouse and provide the usual logistical support.

“We have partnered with Great Shape! Inc. since 2003,” says Director of Programmes for the Sandals Foundation, Heidi Clarke, “we’ve hosted their dental, eye care and student literacy projects, and now we’re pleased to host Teach the Teachers. It’s an amazing opportunity for us to collaborate on projects that are sustainable, provide the most contemporary training, and benefit the people of our island. ”

Dr. Joyce Graham Royal, Principal of GC Foster College of Physical Education and Sport, who continues to sing the praises of Great Shape! Inc. and their Teach the Teacher programme, is also looking forward to this year’s initiative. “With training from Great Shape! Inc. tremendous improvements have been noticed.  Both teachers and students are now very excited about the teaching learning process,” she says. “Great Shape! Inc. continues to save lives and this invaluable contribution is indeed a timely and opportune one which will ultimately revolutionize the nation’s literary landscape.”

Teach the Teachers volunteers work with Jamaican educators and principals who lead Basic-6 grade levels. The workshops focus on the following:
• Language Arts:
o Methods to enrich reading and writing techniques with emphasis on comprehension, skill building, word recognition, written expression
• Classroom Behavioral Management:
o Tools to provide motivation, rewards
o Methods to create a joyfully-controlled classroom, tips to manage staff
o Techniques to build self-esteem, effective communication
o Child-centered teaching practices
o Conflict resolution, effectively managing behaviors, consequences
• Computer Education:
o From beginner to advanced (including hardware and troubleshooting)
o Guides teachers to improve their own computer skills
o Techniques to share computer learning with their own students

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