Important questions to consider

This comment concerns the on-going saga at the Alexandra School – Broomes V. Alexandra’s teaching staff.

As an educator myself (Bajan born), I have been carefully following your coverage of the afore-referenced issue, and here are some questions that rush to my mind:

1. Students should, and must, be educators’ first priority. What psychological effect is this destructive public issue having on the students’ learning – presently, and in the future?

2. Teachers: What calibre of teaching can teachers deliver in such a toxic teaching/learning environment – now and in the future?

3. Teaching-learning environment: Learning = past experience X present environment. What is the Ministry of Education’s responsibility to parents, students, and the community, for ensuring that Alexandra’s students learn and grow – now and in the future?

4. Principal: Principal, in educational terms, is understood as principal (leader) teacher. How can a principal be a good leader-teacher if he/she is unable to foster good and amicable human relations with, and among his/her teaching staff? There is traditional and modern world-wide evidence that indicates that the best principals are those who consider and act-out the role “primus inter pares” among his/her teaching staff. Teaching is not just an intellectual and administrative mode of educating learners. Social, emotional, and human relations play as important roles in learning as the administrative role.

5. Who is this principal Broomes? Is he a Socrates (Plato), a J-J. Rousseau, a Piaget, a Comenius, a Pestalozzi, a Froebel, a Dewey, a Skinner, a Schweitzer, a Khan (, or all these rolled into one?

6. Money/Expenditures: Compare the costs now being incurred by the present Commission of Enquiry with the cost of relieving the principal of his position?

7. Long-term costs for students and for Barbadian education: What will be the future toll-reflection on Barbados’ educational system if this principal is permitted, or not permitted, to continue at Alexandra? And what if he were to become chief education officer – as seemed to be his ultimate desire?

–W. Glenn Harewood, Ph.D.

(College of Education, Ohio State University)

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