2007 Biennial Cross-Campus Conference in Education

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    Classroom research: A defining feature of professional practice
    (School of Education, UWI, St. Augustine, 2008) Singh, Vashti
    Classroom research, teaching, and professional development are closely linked. Their interrelation and interconnectedness may be described as axiomatic. In addressing the question: Why classroom research by teachers?, a range of issues emerges from topics such as classroom practice, social context, curriculum knowledge, professional learning, and the usefulness of research. This paper urges that teachers who are committed to their own professional practice seek to expand their knowledge and adapt their teaching to educationally sound delivery, arising from authentic classroom research. In the Caribbean, the teacher's claim to professionalism sometimes falters in this regard. A significant issue is that teachers need to be increasingly effective in enabling culturally diverse groups of students to learn increasingly complex subjects. This includes aspects of pedagogical content knowledge that incorporate culture and community contexts for learning. Simultaneously, teachers ought to reflect on their practice to learn from and improve upon it continually. This paper focuses on three themes that explore the concept of classroom research by teachers. The first establishes the link between classroom research and the teacher professional. The second evaluates curriculum and the teaching/learning process as the focus of classroom research, and the third discusses problems in the traditional research paradigm for guiding teachers to improve their teaching. The paper concludes with a reflection on the nature of classroom research itself and its relevance for teachers' professional development within the Caribbean context
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    Pre-service secondary school mathematics teachers exploring computer technology in a Caribbean context: Challenges encountered
    (School of Education, UWI, St. Augustine, 2008) Junor Clarke, Pier A.
    This paper discusses the challenges encountered in an English-speaking Caribbean context as five pre-service secondary school mathematics (PSSM) teachers explored the use of computer technology (CT) in their instructional practices. A conceptual framework of three compatible theories guided the study. The major goals of this study were to investigate the experiences and perceptions of the PSSM teachers, and to identify factors they considered necessary for successful integration. I found that the teachers were faced with similar challenges as those experienced in earlier explorations of developed and developing countries. The PSSM teachers learned that their efforts to move away from the traditional "chalk and talk" approach to a learner-centred approach did lend itself to genuine positive progress in using CT. They further realized that reading and group skills, along with computer literacy, are factors to be considered in their planning when introducing CT use in mathematics instruction in their context
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    Selected teachers' pedagogical content knowledge of the Transatlantic Trade in Enslaved Africans (TTEA)
    (School of Education, UWI, St. Augustine, 2008) Gift, Sandra
    This paper presents teachers as the main source of secondary school students' content knowledge of the Transatlantic Trade in Enslaved Africans (TTEA). It investigates what content knowledge teachers in select parts of the Atlantic world communicate to students; what informs the approaches they employ in their teaching; and how students respond to this knowledge at the affective level. The findings serve as a contribution to teachers' professional development for teaching the TTEA at a time when international attention is increasingly focused on the TTEA and its legacies. A thematic approach is used to discuss the historiography of the TTEA. Three geographic sites: the Americas/Caribbean, Africa, and Europe, provide the broad context of the study on which the paper is based. The UNESCO Slave Route Project and Transatlantic Slave Trade (TST) Education Project serve as its programmatic background. The conceptual framework for the interpretation of the findings relies heavily on Shulman's (1987) concept of pedagogical content knowledge, its emotional dimension as elaborated upon by Jerry Rosiek (2003) and Nate McCaughtry (2004); concepts of human development as proposed by the UNESCO International Commission on Education for the Twenty-first Century, and Lorrie Shepard's (2000) reformed vision of the curriculum
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    Teachers' professional growth: Examining the effect of teacher maturity on LOC orientation
    (School of Education, UWI, St. Augustine, 2008) Cook, Loraine D.; Bastick, Tony
    This research compared the professional growth of Jamaican teachers with those in the United States and Israel. The high correlation (r = 0.845) between age and length of service allowed for two studies to be replicated; one from the US showing increasing internality with increased length of service and the other from Israel showing increasing internality with age. In this research, a modified version of Rose and Medway's Teachers' Locus of Control (TLOC) instrument was used to compare the increases in maturity of self-direction and self-confidence of Jamaican teachers with that of teachers in the United States and Israel. A sample of 205 teachers in the Corporate Area, Kingston, Jamaica completed this study to replicate the findings relating years of service and age to teachers' locus of control orientation as measured using the TLOC scale. T-test and analysis of variance showed no significant difference between Jamaican teachers' length of service, age, and their locus of control orientation. These results imply that Jamaican teachers are not developing the same levels of self-direction and self-confidence as Israeli and US teachers who have similar years of teaching experience. It is suggested that in-service development programmes should address these particular shortfalls in professional growth of Jamaican teachers
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    Attributes of internality: An alternative path to teacher effectiveness
    (School of Education, UWI, St. Augustine, 2008) Cook, Loraine D.; Bastick, Tony
    The literature reports that individuals with an internal locus of control (LOC) are more effective in the workplace than externals, and that it is possible to increase individuals' LOC internality through training. Hence, the researchers have proposed "Teachers' Internality Training," a new alternative type of training, to increase the effectiveness of teachers. This paper describes qualitative and quantitative research with 220 Jamaican teachers that expanded the traditional LOC construct to expose the attributes of LOC that can be targeted by teachers' internality training. The paper also shows how this new expanded LOC construct suggests possible mechanisms for accomplishing this training. The significance of this paper is that it opens the possibility of a new type of alternative training for teaching effectiveness
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    Online teacher training and upgrading programmes for science teachers: Issues of assessment
    (School of Education, UWI, St. Augustine, 2008) Rainford, Marcia
    With many science teachers from the Caribbean migrating to more developed countries in order to take up more lucrative contracts, the need to increase the training opportunities for teachers has taken on greater urgency. Online learning is considered a convenient option to address this increased demand for in-service training and upgrading of teachers. While this form of course delivery has several strengths, there are several drawbacks that are of particular significance for training and professional development of teachers. This paper highlights some of the challenges with respect to the types of assessment activities and the management of the assessment process of one university online programme involved with the professional development of teachers. It discusses some implications for graduates of this programme moving on to higher educational opportunities, with an emphasis on science education and the assessment of students enrolled in online teacher upgrading programmes
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    A model for 360 degree teacher evaluation in the context of the CSME
    (School of Education, UWI, St. Augustine, 2008) Ortega, Sandra; Baptiste, Lennise; Beauchemin, Antoine
    With free movement of Caribbean professionals across the region, individual Ministries of Education and regional institutions must be able to monitor their performances in the field. The primary intention of the proposed model is the objective evaluation of teachers' performances using the multiple perspectives of persons with whom teachers have a professional relationship. The authors offer their insights regarding the 360° approach to performance appraisal used in the United States and contrast it against the traditional format of teacher evaluation. The authors proffer the model as one option to increase objectivity in teacher evaluations and make recommendations about the implementation of this proposed evaluation method
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    Validating the performance standards in the 2005 and 2006 national primary school achievement tests in Mathematics and Language Arts
    (School of Education, UWI, St. Augustine, 2008) De Lisle, Jerome
    Performance standards are informed expectations of student achievement levels in a population. These expectations are based on knowledge or skills in the curriculum (content standards) or on the content and demands of test items. Arguably, performance standards for national assessments of educational achievement are required to evaluate quality and equity within an education system. In 2005, performance standards were introduced into the reporting system for the Trinidad and Tobago primary school national assessments. The critical question was the meaningfulness and usefulness of these performance standards; an issue that relates to validity. Validation considers the legitimacy and defensibility of procedures. Evidence for the validity of standards may come from three different sources: procedural, internal, and external. This paper analysed these three sources of validity evidence for the performance standards established in the 2005 and 2006 national assessments. Following recent trends, the study makes significant use of qualitative data obtained from the judges in evaluating the cognitive processes and perceptions associated with judging and setting standards in situ. This type of data was obtained from journals and responses to open-ended questions in a questionnaire administered to participants during the standard-setting process. The 2005 data suggest that while some evidence was strongly supportive of procedural validity, problems in logistics and management of the process proved noteworthy limitations. Targets of improvement for future standard-setting exercises should focus on addressing these deficiencies. Additionally, future evaluations of the process should include additional quantitative information necessary to judge the internal and external validity
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    In the context of Trinidad and Tobago, How do we identify schools that are succeeding or failing amidst exceptionally challenging circumstances?
    (School of Education, UWI, St. Augustine, 2008) De Lisle, Jerome; Smith, Peter; Lewis, Yvonne; Keller, Carol; Mc David, Patricia; Jules, Vena; Lochan, Samuel; Hackett, Raymond S.; Pierre, Phaedra N.; Seunarinesingh, Krishna
    The understanding that some schools face uniquely challenging circumstances represents a groundswell of new research in school improvement and education reform policy. Traditional school improvement theory does not account for variations in school contexts, and some have questioned the applicability of current practice to all schools, especially those in disadvantaged contexts. This leads directly to the core question of this paper: In the context of Trinidad and Tobago, how do we identify schools facing challenge? Answering this question will allow us to address the edifice of inequity strangling schooling outcomes in Latin America and the Caribbean. A critical task is the development of a database of schools with characteristics related to performance and context. This paper describes the protocol and initial data from such a project. Data came from the 2005 and 2006 primary school national achievement tests. A simple measure of school performance, called the Academic Performance Index, was developed, based on the distribution of students in each performance level defined in the national achievement tests. Additional indices were obtained, including disadvantage status and school size. From the database, a short list of high- and low-achieving schools in challenging circumstances was developed
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    Questioning our fundamental assumptions: Scientific measures of reliability
    (School of Education, UWI, St. Augustine, 2008) Bastick, Tony
    Have you every wondered why many phenomena that thousands of people believe in and claim to have experienced cannot be 'proven' by science; phenomena such as effects of the moon on human behaviour, and supernatural and paranormal events such as ESP, remote viewing, and out-of-body experiences. Typically, scientific results of well-designed experiments report correlations that show any such unusual human-contextual interactions are no better than chance, for example "Ivan Kelly, James Rotton and Roger Culver (1996) examined over 100 studies on lunar effects and concluded that the studies have failed to show a reliable and significant correlation (i.e., one not likely due to chance).... If so many studies have failed to prove a significant correlation between the full moon and anything, why do so many people believe in these lunar myths?" (Carroll, 2006). One simple reason that correlation studies show no significant results might not be because there is nothing there to measure but because the assumptions on which correlations are based attribute such unusual human-contextual interactions to randomness. Many users of correlation are unaware of these assumptions and many statisticians rarely question them. It might be said of these experiments that if we repeatedly do something the wrong way we will continue to reliably get the wrong answer. This paper explains very simply, for a non-statistical audience, the random-error assumption of classical test theory that is used to scientifically measure reliability of such phenomena. A study of 1,331 Grade 9 children in 43 Jamaican schools is presented to demonstrate that classic correlational measures of reliability do not recognize unusual but reliable human-contextual interactions recorded by these children. A simple alternative constructivist correlational measure is demonstrated, which is sensitive to such unusual but reliable human-contextual interactions. The significance of this paper is that it is fundamental to correlation studies in education, particularly in non-standard Caribbean populations
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    Evaluations of quality teaching for university quality assurance
    (School of Education, UWI, St. Augustine, 2008) Bastick, Tony
    Analysis of degree results for The University of the West Indies (UWI), Mona, Jamaica, evidences exponential grade inflation since the introduction, publication, and administrative uses of Student Evaluations of Teaching (SETs) (Bastick, 2004). This paper explains how SETs contribute to grade inflation and why, despite their recognized disastrous effects on education, they continue to be used for quality assurance in English-speaking universities. An alternative method of assessing Quality Teaching is introduced that, by integrating teaching, learning, and assessment, can identify and offer detailed reports to advise at-risk students and suggest detailed modifications to teaching that optimize attainment. The method measures individuals' teaching/learning experiences. It uses a five-minute feedback form to assess the alignment of students' and lecturer's expectations. Results show that these in-course alignments predict enjoyment of teaching and students' academic attainment on course assessments. Hence, mismatched alignment and assessment results identify, for second marking, individual examination and coursework scripts that might have been wrongly marked. Analyses of alignments result in measures of quality teaching provided by lecturers, and experienced by groups of students, which can be rigorously compared between courses, subjects, and departments across the university for inclusion in quality assurance reports. The significance of this paper is that it presents an original, alternative, cost-effective assessment of quality teaching for tertiary institutions that can be demonstrated to improve education
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    Managing subjectivity in arts assessment
    (School of Education, UWI, St. Augustine, 2008) Baptiste, Lennise
    Transparency in the award of scores is a major concern in arts assessments. Subjectivity impacts on assessment of the arts due in the main to disagreements about the artistic skills and aesthetic dimensions of artistic works. This paper describes some of the dilemmas facing judges across the artistic domains, and identifies questions that can guide the assessment of creativity. Rubrics are discussed as a method of reducing the impact of subjectivity in arts assessments
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    Building creative capacity for the 21st century: Implications for Caribbean education of the UNESCO World Conference on Arts Education and the CCFA Conference on Societies in Crisis
    (School of Education, UWI, St. Augustine, 2008) Sharma, Satanand
    This presentation comments on emerging themes of the World Conference on Arts Education 2006
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    Graduate studies in technical and vocational education and training (TVET) in the Caribbean - Whose responsibility?
    (School of Education, UWI, St. Augustine, 2008) Morris, Halden A.
    The landscape of tertiary level education in the Caribbean has changed significantly during the last decade as a result of the recognition by governments that in order to survive in this ever-changing technological global market, the education system must adjust to facilitate growth and development and strive to satisfy the needs of the economy. The inception of the Caribbean Single Market and Economy (CSME) has challenged the education system to deliver quality personnel to marshal what may now be viewed as non-traditional, high-demand professional education and training. Each Caribbean nation, and indeed CARICOM, must move swiftly to provide an empirical basis on which to develop benchmarks and standards for this emerging economy. During the last three decades, we have witnessed the emergence and maturity of quality assurance agencies in technical and vocational education and training (TVET) internationally. The benefits derived from such agencies are astounding in terms of establishing and maintaining standards. During the last decade, Jamaica established its TVET quality assurance agency, the National Council on Technical and Vocational Education and Training (NCTVET), and has utilized Industry Lead Groups to formulate a significant bank of standards, which are now employed by the various sectors. Establishment of a solid postgraduate programme will provide researchers, and hence valuable information and data to refine and continue development of standards, which will in the long term assist policy makers. This paper will outline the response of The University of the West Indies (UWI) in its attempts to provide leadership in the delivery of graduate programmes in TVET for the Caribbean
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    Reconceptualizing vocational education and training (VET) in Caribbean schooling
    (School of Education, UWI, St. Augustine, 2008) Lewis, Theodore
    Technical and vocational education and training (TVET) has had an uneven history in secondary education in the Caribbean, which is no different from the experiences of many developing and emergent countries. Many problems tend to beset the introduction of such subjects in the schools, including (a) high cost, (b) low status, (c) poor integration with the academic curriculum, (d) indifferent attention to teacher preparation, (e) tendency to be offered to low academic performers, (f) assessment and certification difficulties (low pass rates), and (g) programme maintenance issues. Over the decades, there has been a strong message from the World Bank that investment in TVET is a low funding priority, on the premise that such investment does not yield suitable returns. This paper contends that TVET has a vital role to play in Caribbean education, and in the development of the region. But the approach cannot be business as usual. There is need for new paradigms. The paper reflects on the record of TVET offerings in Caribbean schools, and offers some likely futures-alternative models-that might be considered in moving forward. A rationale for the models is provided, and strengths and weaknesses of each offered. Implications issuing from the proposal are set forth, in realms such as educational policy, teacher preparation, and curriculum development
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    The importance of learning foreign languages in Trinidad and Tobago
    (School of Education, UWI, St. Augustine, 2008) Kawecki, Regis; Gea-Monera, Maria Pilar
    By learning a foreign language, students are exposed to a new and exciting world and get close to other people and to cultures that possess different systems for explaining and understanding world phenomena. This experience broadens the learners' minds and makes them appreciate other lifestyles that are neither better nor worse, but different. Tolerance and respect for others are highly valued in the world today and we all need to be educated in these values. In this respect, the Centre for Language Learning (CLL) has an important role to play for the university and the larger community of Trinidad and Tobago. These are issues addressed in this paper, which presents and analyses data from questionnaires distributed to CLL students at the beginning of Semester 2, 2006-2007. The purpose of the survey was to have a better picture of our students so that we could design programmes that meet their needs and expectations
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    Anti-racist education and research: A vision for Caribbean education in the 21st century
    (School of Education, UWI, St. Augustine, 2008) Kallon, Michael
    This is a theoretical paper intended to discuss ideas on how anti-racist education and research can be approached in the Caribbean context. The paper seeks to examine the role of, and challenges, to anti-racist education and research in a contemporary new epoch, one that is remarkably different in its celebration of cultural fragmentation and pluralism as against the universalizing, homogenizing effects of rationality and scientism. I would not attempt to argue that there is a consensus out there on what constitutes anti-racist education and research. I only draw attention to certain basic challenges for those interested in the conduct of anti-racist work in the Caribbean
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    Education in crisis: Re-visiting the "Carnival mentality"
    (School of Education, UWI, St. Augustine, 2008) Fournillier, Janice B.
    This paper draws on an ethnographic case study of learning/teaching practices in Trinidad Carnival mas'camps. Over the Carnival 2005 season, selected members of the mas' making community shared their perspectives on learning/teaching practices at work in the Carnival mas' camp. I constructed the learning narratives in this article from the field notes, photographs, and biographical interviews. I used these learning narratives to make meaning of the various socio-historical-cultural theories of learning that situate learners in spaces that are sometimes explained using constructs like non-school and non-formal. These learning narratives demonstrate the practices that inform learning, the kind of person the learner becomes, and his/her philosophy of lifelong learning and continuing education. Further, they provide evidence of the value of these spaces, and the kinds of imagined possibilities that exist for Caribbean policy makers whose discourse suggest that they recognize the importance of encouraging non-formal, informal, and indigenous learning systems
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    Education for development: The case for a skills-based approach
    (School of Education, UWI, St. Augustine, 2008) Foote, Russell J.
    This article articulates possibilities for education to promote development. Development, conceptualized as capability expansion, can be facilitated once we use education to develop and expand the skills, academic and non-academic, not only within the expanded secondary education system but also on a wider scale, utilizing other training institutions nationwide
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    Educational administration as a micropolitical exercise
    (School of Education, UWI, St. Augustine, 2008) Yamin-Ali, Jennifer
    The administration of a school is usually perceived of as occurring within the confines of the school facility itself. This research seeks to highlight the reality of administrative procedure within the context of promotion to senior management positions in some denominational secondary schools in Trinidad. The data were gathered through interviews and questionnaires from practitioners in the field and from other key players in the promotion scenario. Key players in this research are teachers, aspiring school administrators, Church Board members, and members of the Teaching Service Commission. The qualitative analysis of the data brings to the fore pertinent voices that spell out for us those practices that manifest how micropolitics is manifested in the promotion process. The findings point to some consequences of micropolitical activity in the promotion process, and suggest a way forward for this selection process