Minister’s pledge on education professional development
The Minister of Education today pledged to provide professional development for educators which he described as critical to the success of education reform.
Government is considering closing nine primary schools as part of wide-ranging reforms which also include the introduction of signature schools and the phasing out of middle schools.
Diallo Rabain told the House of Assembly today: “The Ministry and Department of Education recognise the critical importance of professional development and of the need to provide professional development for our leaders, teachers and school staff on an ongoing basis.
“Providing professional development during education reform is extremely important as we prepare for the significant changes that legislation will bring to the Bermuda public school system.”
Mr Rabain said a commitment to professional development would help to improve the outcomes of students and he outlined programmes that have already taken place.
“Preschool leaders and teachers have been receiving intensive professional development designed to ensure integration of the inquiry model of teaching and learning with the Creative Curriculum.
“There has also been significant investment in professional development in the use of Teaching Strategies Gold, an online platform for planning, documentation, assessment and communication internally and with parents or guardians.
“Bermuda public school preschools have earned Teaching Strategies Gold's Ambassador status recognition because of their commitment to improving children's outcomes through professional development.”
The Government has said it is committed to introducing a foundation year, starting this year. Training for primary 1 teachers has been provided with evidence-based strategies to “increase student engagement and facilitate active learning”, said Mr Rabain.
There has also been training in “engaging and supporting children with challenges within their classroom's natural environment”.
“Ensuring that our students with special needs are provided quality services, the learning support teachers have been provided with ongoing professional training,” Mr Rabain said.
The Minister said ongoing professional development is also being provided for school principals and Department of Education technical officers each month.
Mr Rabain said: “The first principal certification programme has already commenced at The Bermuda College via a Partnership with Framingham State University.”
Mr Rabain said that looking to the future, “we will need a high-quality, sustainable professional learning plan“ for teachers and school staff.
He said the plan would include site-based, system-wide and national-level professional learning.
Professional learning will be provided in areas such as Pedagogy, Social Emotional Learning and Peer Coaching.
There will also be professional learning for educators to “develop the education workforce”, one of six national and core priorities.
Ideas under development include the creation of a teaching task force of mentors and coaches able to demonstrate new teaching practices, and an approach where educators work together using peer observation to test and improve new lessons, resources and assessments.
Mr Rabain outlined other ideas being explored including an annual Bermuda educational conference, partnerships between schools, businesses and community organisations to provide work placements, enrichment and resources for students, and career development opportunities for educators.