On Wednesday, 12 March 2015, several highly qualified primary school teachers in District 3, St Andrew, launched the Primary Literacy Team, at the Deluxe Cinema in Grenville, in an effort to improve the literacy levels of primary school students in Grenada.
The idea was the brainchild of Mrs Sandra Thomas, a Curriculum Officer in the Ministry of Education and Human Resource Development.
Thomas said, “The National Minimum Competency test and the Caribbean Primary Exit Assessment have indicated to us that we need do much more to improve the language competency skills of our students. Some of the areas of concern are writing, reading, comprehension — whether it’s writing comprehension or listening comprehension — spelling. These are just some of the areas.”
The launch was marked by a feature address from the Principal of the St Andrew RC Primary School, Mrs Barbara Simmons, who gave insight into some of the variables affecting students’ mastery of the use of formal English Language.
Simmons said, “the school sees its duty to teach children the official language, without consideration for the language which the children would have acquired from home. Confronted with this dilemma, the task of learning to read and write, while being deprived of their major learning tool, makes our children frustrated, confused and afraid to use language. In Botswana the child entering primary school is first taught the native language of Setswana. Within the first few years of schooling, the child is allowed the comfort level with his indigenous language. This sets the foundation for learning the formal language. Could this be done in Grenada?”
To combat the challenge of enabling students in the area of literacy, the team holds training sessions, facilitated by members of the team, which focus on the teaching of reading or other facets of the language arts. The members also conduct workshops within their schools and at a district level.
The launch was marked by entertaining deliveries by Chris Julien, a teacher at the St Andrew RC Primary School, and also a performance by the choir from that school, in addition to a short story, by the third place winner of the Courts Reading Competition, Francis Gordon, a student at the St Andrew Methodist School.
The official launch is expected to give new drive and focus to the team and will set the tone for literacy and language arts activities within the district.
Officials from the Ministry of Education and Human Resource Development, including Early Childhood Officer, Ms Bernadette John, who delivered remarks, several educators and primary school students were in attendance.