2013 UWI Schools of Education Biennial Conference

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    Culturally responsive ICT integration into teaching and learning [PowerPoint]
    (2014-08-07) Ferdinand, Debra
    This presentation notes the limited local digitized curriculum content in the Caribbean as opposed to the proliferation and easy access of US digital educational resources. It also notes that appropriate adaptation is constrained by time, know how, and resources, and that cross-cultural factors are overlooked. It therefore identifies the need to examine cross-cultural factors for making information and communication technology (ICT) integration more culturally responsive. The study sought to identify: 1) the cross-cultural factors that may impact on teaching and learning for Caribbean students; 2) how such cross-cultural factors could be used to enhance the cultural responsiveness of ICT integration into teaching and learning; and 3) the benefits of enhancing the cultural responsiveness of ICT integration into teaching and learning
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    Towards a Model of Learning on Online Social Networking Sites [PowerPoint presentation]
    (2013-09-19) Kamalodeen, Vimala Judy
    This presentation considers a model to describe how teachers can learn in an online educational social network site (SNS). There are three sections to the presentation: discussions about traditional professional development and teacher learning; exploring educational online social networking sites; and then a look at relevant theories of learning related to online social networking which will lead up to a model of learning on online SNS
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    A Study of Spanish Students' Metacognitive Awareness in Listening Comprehension [PowerPoint presentation]
    (2013-09-17) Guedez-Fernandez, Romulo
    This study reports on an investigation into the progress of listening comprehension of a group of Level 3 Spanish language undergraduate students at The University of the West Indies, St. Augustine Campus. The passion for Spanish language that most undergraduate students possess comes from their Spanish heritage, from their links to a Spanish-speaking country, or from their desire to learn a second language (L2). Participants (N=35) were taught by the same teacher and listened to the same listening texts the same number of times. Listening strategy instruction to guide students' attention on their listening process was provided. Development of metacognition (planning, monitoring, evaluation, and problem solving) was tracked using an adapted version of the Metacognitive Awareness Listening Questionnaire (MALQ) designed by Vandergrift et al (2006). During the period of this study, students took five listening comprehension tests; after every test they completed an MALQ and responded to a self-assessment/reflection sheet. The entire group showed improvement in listening comprehension. The paper discusses the complex interplay and relationship of students' metacognition, progress in listening comprehension, and the impact of listening strategy instruction. The article concludes by suggesting the incorporation of metacognitive instruction in the L2 classroom practice as a way of raising student awareness of the L2 listening process, and of leading students to develop control over their own learning process
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    Incorporating a Language Learning Platform to Promote Independent Study: The case of Spanish at UWI St. Augustine [PowerPoint presentation]
    (2013-09-17) Mideros Camargo, Diego; Landa Buil, Maria
    The rapid growth and increasing access to the Internet have become key elements in the teaching and learning processes in different disciplines. Foreign language (FL) learners and teachers have benefited from the multimodal contents available online. Several blogs, wikis, webquests, videos, among others, provide authentic and didactic materials for FL learning. The variety of options is wide and varies from free content to structured language courses for which users have the option to pay. In 2011, the Centre for Language Learning (CLL) at The University of the West Indies, St. Augustine Campus purchased a learning management system (LMS) that sought to promote independent study among FL learners. The LMS was developed in Europe and provides structured lessons for different language skills and different levels. This LMS was piloted with non-specialist Spanish learners at the CLL and with specialist students of the Spanish degree programme. This paper reports on the initial analysis of incorporating this ready-to-use platform from the perspective of the learners. The focus is on evaluating the perceived value of the experience as expressed by the students. Different data collection strategies, both qualitative and quantitative, were used for this case study
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    Data driven decision making: A multisite case study in early childhood centres in Tobago [PowerPoint presentation]
    (2013-07-22) Abdul-Majied, Sabeerah; De Lisle, Jerome; Herbert, Susan; Gayah-Batchasingh, Alicia; McMillan-Solomon, Sabrina; Mohammed, Rhoda; Glasgow-Charles, Kimberly; Thornhill, Ann
    Data-based decision making is a critical part of the education scenario at all levels. Decisions informed by data are likely to be more effective and relevant to the immediate indigenous context. Data-based decision making has become a critical component of effective equity-focused instruction even at the early childhood level. In Trinidad and Tobago, the early childhood care and education (ECCE) provision is designed to foster collaborative data-driven inquiry by teachers. Standards for regulating early childhood services stipulate written policies for curriculum development and assessment that include record keeping, observation and planning. The Ministry of Education also provides documents for record keeping and administrative support for data collection. Teachers in Tobago, however, sometimes report that record keeping is difficult and that they receive little support. This multi-site qualitative case study was therefore designed to investigate the types of data collected, how data were used, and factors that facilitate or inhibit data use practices at three early childhood centres in Tobago. The study is informed by the system-based data use model proposed by Schildkamp and Kuiper (2010). Key findings are that though much data were collected, data use was most effective when school practices were guided by a philosophy that was culturally specific and child-centred. Additionally, seven teacher characteristics that support data-based decision making were identified
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    Guyanese children's perceptions of the play experience [PowerPoint presentation]
    (2013-07-16) Wintz, Godryne
    Children's play is often trivialized and is generally assumed to be something "easy," non-serious, simply fun, and interesting. This study questions adult-centric constructions and assumptions of play as trivial, enjoyable, interesting, and stress-free activities for children. Two key aspects that steered the research were: children had valuable perspectives on their own play experiences, and an awareness of the need to articulate children's perspectives. The aim of the study was to examine Guyanese children's perception of their play experience. Consequently, the research question addressed was: What meanings do children ascribe to their play? Twelve five-year-olds from one private nursery school participated in the study. The study draws upon ethnographic data obtained via participant observations and photo-elicitation interviews. Field notes and transcripts of audio-recorded talk during play interactions in the school setting, and the photo-elicitation interviews facilitated the analysis of the data. Findings revealed that children's perceptions of play widely contrast with adult-centric constructions of play as easy, unimportant and non-serious activities for children
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    Facilitating parental involvement: From rhetoric to reality [PowerPoint presentation]
    (2013-07-16) Williams-Dalrymple, Veronica; Jameson-Charles, Madgerie
    This paper reports on parents' empowerment, using the concept of appreciative inquiry, that is, the process of transforming and strengthening a system to heighten positive potential of parents (Cooperrider, 1990). It draws on Bronfenbrenner (1979) model of ecological human development, which advances that human beings do not develop in isolation but are influenced by their interactions with their family, home, school, and communities. The paper examines how different ecological systems work together to stimulate parents' social and intellectual capital. Parents, teachers, and principals of two primary schools-one situated in a rural district and the other in a town-participated in this study. The paper examines parents' empowerment in the two very different contexts. It further examines how parents are able to negotiate available systems to become empowered to assist their children in improving their performance. A mixture of focus group sessions, discussions, theatre arts, and audio visual aids was used to encourage both parents and teachers to participate and come up with solutions that would enable them to identify and navigate the systems in their environment to the benefit of their children and charges. Preliminary results suggest that the systems within which the parents operate impact on their involvement
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    Nursing students' perception of the effectiveness of problem based learning as a teaching/learning strategy to improve clinical decision making skills: A mixed method study [PowerPoint presentation]
    (2013-07-16) Sealey-Tobias, Valerie; Jameson-Charles, Madgerie
    An educational intervention utilizing problem-based learning (PBL) was introduced to teach the oncology module of a pathophysiology course for third-year nursing students at a School of Nursing in Trinidad and Tobago. This study describes those nursing students' perceptions of the effectiveness of PBL as a teaching/learning strategy. A proportionate random sampling method was used to select a sample of 30 nursing students from a population of 62 third-year nursing students who were exposed to the PBL sessions. A self-administered survey questionnaire with 10 quantitative and three qualitative questions was administered to the respondents, as well as a clinical decision-making test. Most of the students agreed that PBL caused a change in their thinking process. Their responses when categorized included themes such as enhanced critical thinking skills, better assessment skills, and information-gathering skills. All the students scored more than 50 percent in the clinical decision-making test, thus validating the students' perception that PBL had enhanced their clinical decision-making skills
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    Texting and sexting among Jamaican youths: Educational, social, psychological and legal impacts [PowerPoint presentation]
    (2013-07-10) Daley-Morris, Paula; Berry, Camille
    This presentation explores the impact that widespread ownership of cell phones by Jamaicans has on the behaviour of youth age 15-25. This qualitative study examined the practice of texting and sexting by the young in Jamaica, through focus group interviews, the testimonial of one teen, detailed analysis of Jamaica's constitution, byelaws and acts, as well as available cyber-crimes data. The findings revealed that texting is the most popular vehicle of communication among Jamaicans, and its popularity has given rise to the practice of sexting. Sexting continues to play an important role in youth dating culture, but in many cases it is also the means through which sexual indiscretions, i.e. e-blasting, bullying and cyber-crimes occur. Extreme cases of sexting have resulted in social as well as psychological damage, which have altered the lives of some Jamaicans. In most cases these victims are left defenseless as the laws of the Jamaica are yet to catch-up with ills of telecommunication
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    The sociolinguistic influence of text messaging on writing English [PowerPoint presentation]
    (2013-07-10) Daley-Morris, Paula; Devonish, Hubert
    This presentation explores the sociolinguistic influence that young children's use of text messaging writing systems in their everyday lives have on their ability to write in Standard English in formal educational contexts. The issue of texting language's interference with the writings of children during schoolwork has come to the fore in recent times. Teachers and other educators have posited that this uneducative practice is an obstruction to good writing and disrupts literacy development. The researchers conducted an experiment to understand what happened when 72 Grade 5 Jamaican children were asked to write an essay, composition, or a few sentences using text messaging and later translate them into Standard English. This paper discusses the sociolinguistic practices that children employed in order to construct the samples that utilized text messaging language. It also explored the level of scribal accuracy that children were able to demonstrate through the translated samples. The findings that resulted explain the possible relationships that writing in text messaging has on children's writing in Standard English Language
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    Improving practice in primary science education through participatory action research [PowerPoint presentation]
    (2013-07-08) Rainford, Marcia; James, Joan
    Continuing professional development (CPD) is considered essential for teachers and teacher educators to improve their practice. Models of CPD, such as those that involve action research, which respond to the local needs of teachers in the context of their regular classroom experiences, are considered to be particularly useful for sustaining interest and transforming practice. These models of CPD provide new learning spaces in the context of practice, where practitioners have greater control and become more involved in the process of their own professional development. This paper describes a participatory action research (PAR) project which was designed to improve one Grade 4 primary school teacher's attempts at using inquiry-based instruction in the teaching of science in Jamaica. It describes the impact on the practice of the two professionals-teacher and teacher educator-who were engaged in the collaboration. The findings of the study reveal that the PAR approach to CPD had positive effects on the practice of both teacher and teacher educator. The implications for using PAR for in-service professional development in primary science education are discussed
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    Teacher educators: Transforming a classroom of practice through critical pedagogy [PowerPoint presentation]
    (2013-07-08) Mayne, Hope
    According to Altbach and Kelly (1978), the aim of the colonizer was to create schools to fit people into their world-creating an estrangement from their culture and heritage and reinforcing European traditions. This study explored teaching and teacher education in postcolonial Jamaica, based on arguments that education and teacher training are constructed on its colonial past and rely heavily on knowledge from the West. It provided a rich description of the shared teaching experiences of teacher educators in Jamaica, answering the research questions: (a) What do teacher educators understand to be the impact of colonization on education and their teaching (teacher education), (b) How do they describe their practice? Framed on a qualitative research design, a phenomenological perspective was used to uncover the lived experiences of 14 teacher educators. Findings indicated that teacher educators saw the impact of colonialism as having an inherent value in the construction of knowledge; it is historically and socially embedded, reproduced, and fostered dependency. They find benefit in adopting new approaches, in particular, student-centred classrooms, critical thinking, and critical pedagogy. This however is not without challenges. Their classroom practice and preparation of pre-service teachers is innovative, facilitative, structured, and consultative
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    Changing landscapes in Caribbean education: Are our teachers being adequately prepared for this? [PowerPoint presentation]
    (2013-07-08) Jennings, Zellynne; Anderson, Susan
    Didacus Jules contends that we need to adopt a radical approach in rethinking education in the Caribbean to make learning fun, more closely related to the digital world, and more relevant to the social issues that beset schools today. This challenge was reiterated by Jessop (2012) who highlighted critical points on transforming education made at the 18th Conference of Commonwealth Education Ministers in Mauritius. Jessop noted that the current decline in Caribbean Examinations Council (CXC) exam results is a signal that young people are leaving school unprepared for the job market-a trend that will have adverse effects on Caribbean economies. Among the suggestions for the way forward is the need to reassess teaching methods so they become more technology-driven and relevant to national development. This paper presents research that critically examines the effectiveness of the different models of teacher education used at The University of the West Indies over a 10-year period (1997-2007), drawing on the experiences of the graduates of the programme, current students, and other stakeholders. The findings point to crucial changes that need to be made if teachers are to be appropriately prepared for the challenges of today's classrooms
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    Causes of absenteeism at the secondary level in Jamaica: Parents' perspective [PowerPoint presentation]
    (2013-07-08) Jennings, Zellynne; Cook, Loraine D.; Anderson, Susan
    Inclusion has been broadly defined to include the elimination of social exclusion due to differences in social class and ability, inter alia. Chronic absenteeism occurs when a student is absent from school without reason 20 percent or more of school time. Students who are habitually absent from school will generally fall behind their classmates in their academic success. Research has underscored that low attendance and dropout rates are problematic in the Jamaican school system. This study sought to investigate parents' perspectives on the causes of student absenteeism at the secondary level. How their levels of education, their relationship with the school, and family background influenced their views on the causes of students' absenteeism were also examined. Using a convenience sample, a survey was carried out involving 227 parents in 10 secondary schools located in various parishes of Jamaica. The findings so far suggest that the factors influencing students' absenteeism are the home and family, and school factors
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    Using indigenous language resources for promoting science learning [PowerPoint presentation]
    (2013-07-05) Simon, Lucy; George, June M.
    This paper reports on an attempt to document and use indigenous language resources as a tool for promoting science learning in a rural secondary school in Trinidad. The exploratory study involved the compilation of a database of cultural words and expressions, along with their meanings, as gleaned from classroom discussions with a Form 4 Integrated Science class. This resource was then used to develop science lessons that utilized border crossing strategies aimed at bridging the gap between students' everyday language and the language of conventional school science. The overall aim was to help students to better appropriate conventional scientific discourse. In spite of challenges encountered, it was found that the use of indigenous language resources served to increase cognitive and emotional engagement on the part of students and helped them begin to make some progress towards appropriating scientific discourse. The paper makes the case for further research into the creation of suitable spaces that invite indigenous language and ways of communicating into the science classroom in the quest for greater participation in science classes, and also smoother transitions into conventional school science
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    Helping Caribbean graduate students to become qualitative researchers: Searching for an appropriate pedagogy [PowerPoint presentation]
    (2013-07-05) Newman, Mairette; Hordatt Gentles, Carol
    Learning to do qualitative research requires becoming comfortable with thinking and producing academic work inductively in an iterative, non-positivistic way. This is often difficult for students accustomed to learning and succeeding in classrooms characterized by traditional, didactic pedagogy. The challenge of helping them to feel confident and competent working in an interpretivist paradigm calls for a pedagogy that encourages and supports their thinking, theorizing, and writing, in ways that they are unfamiliar with. Our experience with preparing Caribbean graduate students across the disciplines to become qualitative researchers has led us to think critically and consciously about the teaching/learning strategies we are using. In this paper we (a) identify pedagogical challenges of teaching qualitative research to Caribbean graduate students; (b) describe and justify the approach and attendant strategies we have developed in response to these challenges, and (c) discuss the implications of these strategies for how graduate students learn to become qualitative researchers in their respective fields. Our overarching approach has been twofold: building a social context for learning before, during, and after field work, by having students reflect on and share their experiences of the processes associated with qualitative research and their growing competence as qualitative researchers, and, at the same time providing structures that facilitate non-traditional thinking
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    Cassava resist dyeing: Traditional dyeing techniques in a new environment [PowerPoint presentation]
    (2013-07-05) Becker, Jill
    In several cultures around the world, paste resist dyeing has been traditionally performed in the dyeing of textiles. In Nigeria, adire eleko is a method which uses cassava as the base for the paste. In Japan, a similar process, katazome and tsitsugaki-zome, is also used in the dyeing of textiles. The base of the resist in this environment is a special rice and rice bran mixture, which is prepared through steaming according to a specific procedure. These practices derived from the use of indigenous materials in other cultures are used as the basis for informing teaching and learning practices in fashion designing around the world. Within Jamaica, the use of indigenous materials to increase artistic expression by local fashion designers is becoming increasingly important as the country seeks to preserve its uniqueness. This experimental research seeks to ascertain whether cassava, an indigenous product of the Caribbean region, is an appropriate local substitute in the resist dyeing of cotton and silk fabrics. Three recipes using cassava in its various state-cassava in its organic state, re-constituted bammies, and cassava flour-were developed to test the hypothesis. Additionally, dyes were added to the resist paste to extend the design potential to allow for a number of colours to be printed on one piece of textile. The findings generated from this study will be used to inform teaching/learning practices in fashion designing, as well as used as a basis for collaborating with artisans in the region to develop and promote the use of indigenous knowledge
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    Case study: The use of video game construction to bridge hearing and deaf students in Trinidad and Tobago [Poster]
    (2013-07-04) Gonzalez-Lord, Janadi
    This poster presents a case study of a problem-based project conducted at a single school in Trinidad. The project is discussed in terms of its academic and social impact on the 175 students who participated, as well as the possibility of using this method to foster better inclusion of hard-of-hearing and/or deaf students into mainstream schools. Students, in collaboration with members of the deaf community, created games; web-based assessments to test others' knowledge of the game content; and a tour of a planetarium for deaf, hearing, and hearing-impaired students. Students also created video journals of their journey. The project resulted in better academic scores in science, mathematics, visual arts and English Language, better understanding of deaf culture and higher levels of engagement in science for students of Bishop Anstey High School East (BAHSE). However, future investigations should be explored into the impacts of deaf and hearing-impaired students being more directly involved in these types of problem-based projects, especially in terms of second-language (English) development, crafting knowledge across curriculum areas, and social interactions with the hearing world
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    Journeying across borders in the science classroom: Do culturally relevant teaching/learning materials have a place? [PowerPoint presentation]
    (2013-07-04) Coard, Maxine Keisha; George, June M.
    This paper reports on a study that explored the process of border crossing between everyday experiences and a Form 4 biology class for three students in a secondary school in South Trinidad. The biology lessons were designed to include culturally relevant material from the students' home backgrounds with the expectation that this strategy would enhance border crossing. The paper describes and analyses how these three students, each representing a different level of academic achievement, manoeuvre across the cultural borders of the home and school. It follows their learning journey and details how each student experiences and responds to teacher-designed "bridge building" strategies using culturally relevant materials, both in terms of his/her level of interest in the biology class and his/her understanding of biology concepts. Data were collected via individual interviews, observations, and a post-unit achievement test. The findings revealed that the students responded in different ways to the introduction of culturally relevant material into the classroom and that all three students showed some change in achievement and interest. The paper explores the implications of the findings of this preliminary study for science education in Trinidad and Tobago. It points to the need for further research in this area since these preliminary results suggest that culturally relevant teaching/learning materials have some potential for facilitating the journey across borders
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    Unpacking the role of the Teacher Performance Assessment in teacher preparation programs [PowerPoint presentation]
    (2013-07-03) Archer, Genevieve A.
    This project was a qualitative case study of the pilot of the Teacher Performance Assessment (TPA) at City University in the United States. The purpose of the study was to: (a) discover the role of the TPA; and (b) determine the implications of the TPA for university preparation programs. Two teacher education programs, Elementary Education and Secondary Science Education participated in the pilot. The study focused on the experiences of faculty and university-based supervisors (graduate students) during their participation in the TPA pilot process. Three research questions guided the study: (1) What is the role of the Teacher Performance Assessment in teacher education programs? (2) How did each program take up the TPA? (3) How, if at all, did teacher educators use data generated from the TPA to inform revisions of program content, pedagogy and supervisory practices? Other than its established function as a capstone assessment, the TPA took on additional roles: diagnostic, professional development, and as a learning tool. Participants in the Elementary program were avoiders of the innovation, while participants in the Secondary Science program were adopters. Greater support for university supervisors and pro-activity of some faculty members were recommended