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Senator Elena Smith: “Change is long overdue”

Posted: Thursday, July 28, 2022. 12:10 pm CST.

By Aaron Humes: President of the Belize National Teacher’s Union (BNTU), Senator Elena Smith, acknowledged that teachers were not exactly receptive to the idea of a new National Curriculum Framework.

Initial grumbling from teachers centered on what was seen as a yet another “useless” change after two such previous recent revisions, and a worry that the Ministry was simply handing down a directive rather than come to them and consult. There was also a political tinge to the reaction.

Senator Smith said, however, that once consultation actually began, it was refreshing to teachers to be directly consulted on what they envisioned the curriculum should look like and how it should move forward – as often directives from the Ministry are simply carried out without question.

Smith described her role as ensuring that the information gleaned from the meetings was incorporated into the final work; for example, storing outstanding lessons by teachers in a bank so that more time can be spent developing activities surrounding these lessons.

Teachers are never on vacation, Smith reminded, as the most mundane things are inspiration for a class lesson.

Smith also noted that teachers are wary of lesson being combined in order to ensure that not too much is lost and, especially after two years wrecked by COVID, that students can catch up.

Wearing her Union hat, Smith interceded that depending on combinations of subjects, some teachers are at risk of losing their jobs if their specialty is eliminated.

But in all, Smith said, while some may not like change, it is overdue and their curriculum and lesson plans now reflect the overall plans under the NCF.


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