JIS: Come the start of the 2018/19 academic year in September, about 100 current and prospective teachers of Spanish at the primary, secondary, vocational and tertiary levels will enter the classroom better equipped to impart the subject.
These individuals, including lecturers at teachers’ colleges and final-year student teachers, are participating in a four-day intensive training course now underway at Shortwood Teachers’ College in St. Andrew.
The programme was organised by the Ministry of Education, Youth and Information, the Embassy of Spain in Jamaica and Shortwood College, in collaboration with Spain’s Cervantes Institute.
The course, which commenced on August 18, comprises sessions being conducted by lecturers at the Institute, Professors Carmen Soria and Ines Soria.
The Institute was created by Spain’s Government in 1991 to promote the teaching of Spanish and advancing the cultures of all Spanish-speaking countries.
Speaking at the opening ceremony at Shortwood College on Saturday (August 18), Chief Education Officer of the Ministry, Dr. Grace McLean, said part of the Ministry’s plan is to facilitate the programme’s possible staging every two years, in a bid to further boost teachers’ capabilities to comprehensively impart Spanish.
“The Cervantes programme will assist in improving the intercultural pedagogical competence in our teachers, promote educational cooperation and collaboration among the related institutions and raise awareness of Spanish language competence as indispensable for personal and economic development as well as nation building,” she indicated.
Dr. McLean said the course is timely, given Jamaica’s overall focus on advancing the teaching and learning of foreign languages coupled with the benefits that will accrue to the education system.
According to the Chief Education Officer, teachers of Spanish will be better able to support their students with increased knowledge of the language.
“Jamaica will also have more teachers and lecturers who are prepared to deliver high quality teaching of Spanish which is aligned with international standards. This is extremely important, especially within in a globalised context,” she added.
Dr. McLean said the Ministry will also be exploring the possibility of staging a regional conference on foreign languages.
This, she added, in order to support other Caribbean countries’ embracing “new approaches to the teaching of foreign languages under the common European framework reference for languages.”
CAPTION: Chief Education Officer, Ministry of Education, Youth and Information, Dr. Grace McLean