Our programme take an intensive five-step approach. Each step plays an important role in empowering our teachers to return to their jobs and communities, eager and excited to teach children who before, were thought to be ‘difficult’.
Step 1: Teacher Interview and Selection Process
Early childhood education schools and special needs teachers from across the island with various backgrounds and qualifications are invited to apply. We prioritise teachers who indicate some practical analysis of their students’ challenges and are keen to know how to best serve them; alongside teachers who already show a facility or interest in communicating best practices with colleagues.
Selected candidates demonstrate an interest in process-based instruction; a facility and comfort with some of the language and strategies; a need among their student population; and an ability to communicate effectively with peers and colleagues. To help foster a professional learning community, panelists will be looking to include clusters of teachers working alongside each other at the same schools and institutions.
Qualified teachers receive an acceptance letter and are advised of the Location of the training course.
Step 2: Seeing Stars® and Visualising and Verbalising® Workshop
Selected teachers attend two two-day workshops:
Seeing Stars® (“SITM”), focuses on giving teachers the underlying sensory cognitive functions for both quick and accurate phonological and orthographic processing. These processes are essential for the development of word attack, sight word recognition, fluent and accurate reading and spelling.
Visualising and Verbalising® (“V/V”) develops concept imagery, the foundational sensory cognitive process underlying both oral and written language comprehension and critical thinking.
Key stakeholders and representatives are invited to gain a deeper understanding of the programmes with a view to including the methodology in teacher training programmes:
- Ministry of Education, Youth and Information – Literacy, Special Education and EC Units;
- Teachers’ Colleges of Jamaica- Literacy, Special Education and Early Childhood Board of Studies;
- Mico University College;
- University of the West Indies School of Education- Department of Literacy Studies; and
- UWI School of Education Child Assessment and Treatment of Exceptionalities (SOECATE) Unit.
Step 3: Job-Embedded Professional Development & Instructional Coaching
Onsite coaching is made available for all participating teachers. According to experts, unless professional development is tailored to individual needs, its maximum benefits cannot be achieved. It needs to be ongoing, interactive and follow several different approaches.
School-based professional development allows these individual needs to be identified and addressed. The primary focus of the coaching will be to model, team teach, mentor and refine instructional language and delivery, effective error-handling and lesson planning and implementation.
Step 4: Summer School by Lindamood-Bell®
Teacher assessment is done via implementation and assessment of a minimum of 20 students from the total student population with whom the 50-75 participating educators have been working with. This aids teachers in identifying each student’s strengths and weaknesses. Lindamood-Bell consultants oversee participating teachers instruct these students in a 4 or 6-hour daily Summer Session, with the intention of having 60-90 hours of instruction for each student.
Through the summer sessions, teachers will receive additional professional development under the guidance of a Lindamood-Bell consultant in the programme steps, practice sessions, coaching, feedback and professional goal setting.
To further develop sustainability, the participation of some identified ‘instructional leaders’ from 2017 is key, so that they can develop as mentors through coaching and feedback, sharing strategies and building a professional learning community. Teachers receive intensive professional development on topics including Error Handling, Pacing and Lesson Planning and immersion in the language and strategies. Instructional leaders will be guided in how best to mentor their peers, giving them additional tools to take back to their schools.
Step 5: On Cloud Nine® Workshop & Kits (Maths)
Our On Cloud Nine® (“OCN”) workshop trains teachers in helping students image and verbalise the concepts and processes of mathematics. Through a series of steps, OCN students learn to develop both numeral and concept imagery for numbers and number operations, integrating imagery with language to improve computation and problem solving. This leads to an increased knowledge of maths facts, an awareness of mathematical concepts, an understanding of word problems and improved test scores.
Teachers are taught the steps of the programme information and techniques through discussion, demonstration, video, reading, and supervised practice. On completion of the workshop, each teacher will receive on behalf of their school one complete On Cloud Nine Kit.
In total, the project is spans an intensive six-month period. The usual schedule begins with the selection of teachers in early-May; the initial professional development workshops at the end of that month; job-embedded professional development from late-April to early-June; the summer learning sessions through to the end of July; followed by the two-day maths workshops at the end of September.
Monitoring and Evaluation
Stakeholders receive ongoing reports and analyses at different intervals throughout the programme. These range from school-based formative assessments to summer session students’ pre- and post-instruction summative assessments; along with a comprehensive analysis summarising these results.
Following the completion of all phases, stakeholders are provided with a detailed breakdown of the programme activites, both in terms of student data and professional development. Participating teachers will provide detailed feedback at each stage of the process.