UWI works to end violence in schools
With research showing that aggression and violence are growing problems in Caribbean schools, those who train teachers are being equipped with the tools to help educators deal with the troubling trend.
The fist step in this process is a workshop on School Positive Behaviour Management Principles organized by the School of Education at the University of the West Indies Cave Hill Campus, in collaboration with UNICEF.
Delivering remarks at yesterday’s opening of the workshop, Director of the School of Education Dr Babalola Ogunkola said the participants would be given additional tools to train teachers in the Eastern Caribbean teachers’ training colleges, to proactively and effectively address behaviours that failed to meet classroom expectations.
He pointed to a 2006 Organization of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS) Education Reform Unit study that identified cliques in schools, as well as the competition created by the school curriculum, as being among the contributors to aggressive behaviour.
The study found that children got their hands on various items, including knives, screwdrivers and even umbrella spokes, to use as weapons. Some of the other findings were that senior pupils were violent to junior pupils; and sexual aggression was common as boys were expected to be sexually active at a certain age.
“Drugs, violence and injuries caused by knives and cutlasses are the most common aggression-related problems that are observed. The consumption and sale of alcohol on school premises and at school functions are also common,” Dr Ogunkola added.
He suggested that approaches aimed at improving school and classroom environments, including reducing the negative effects of disruptive or distracting behaviours, could make teaching more effective, both for the students with problematic behaviour and their classmates.
“Within this context, Eastern Caribbean countries have been seeking to use the effective Child-Friendly Schools Framework as a means of helping to move schools and education systems progressively towards implementation of quality standards,” Dr Ogunkola said.
“This Framework is based on the principles of child-centredness, inclusiveness and democratic participation, and seeks to address a range of areas to support successful learning and facilitating children in achieving their full potential. Integral to this has been the use of a range of strategies to enhance the psycho-social environment in schools, to make them more welcoming, caring and safe places for students and teachers.”
The workshop , which is being held at the Courtyard by Marriot hotel in Hastings, ends tomorrow.