More than 85 Grenadian teachers participated in the training opportunity, Teaching for Neurodiversity: Building Inclusive Teaching and Learning Classrooms, offered by Lesley University Institute for English Language Programmes Beyond Borders, from 2-6 August 2021.
The participants at the workshop included the focal point person at mainstream schools for special needs education, special education teachers, itinerant teachers (teachers who work with special needs students in mainstream schools) and Ministry of Education field officers.
At the opening ceremony for the training, held via ZOOM on 2 August, Norman Gilbert, Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Education, Human Resource Development, Religious Affairs, and Information said, “I would like to thank ambassador, the team at Lesley and the Authentic Caribbean Foundation for reaching out to provide this opportunity for our teachers. I am sure that this will be an exciting journey and that the application of the core principles will bring benefit to our education system here in Grenada.”
This online workshop was made available through Her Excellency Yolande Smith at the Washington Mission, in collaboration with the Authentic Caribbean Foundation out of the USA and the Ministry of Education, Human Resource Development, Religious Affairs and Information. At the end of the training, the educators received a Certificate from Lesley University. This training will be the beginning of a continued collaboration between the Authentic Caribbean Foundation, the Washington Mission, and the Ministry of Education in providing support to students with special needs in Grenada.
Gilbert highlighted Grenada’s efforts towards inclusive education by placing most special needs students within mainstream schools and ensuring that these students have an equal opportunity to sit both the CPEA and CSEC exams. He views the recent training as a key capacity building opportunity.
“This interactive and practical workshop aims to prepare reflective and skilled educators who are equipped with an evidence-based problem-solving approach to analyzing and solving real and multifaceted inclusion issues. As some of you may be aware, the Ministry has placed the teaching of special education high on its agenda,” the Permanent Secretary said. “This is evident by the selection of focal points at every school to provide support to students with intellectual challenges, sensory challenges and so on. This training would allow for teachers, in all schools, to better understand the needs of students, so that they can provide the appropriate accommodations or teaching and learning interventions which will positively impact the students.”
The intended outcome of the training includes improving awareness and understanding of inclusive supports and practices for neurodiverse individuals diagnosed with ADHD, Autism, and Dyslexia and techniques; exploring practical and effective strategies and approaches to inclusive teaching and learning, healthcare, and community-building and developing a strategic plan of action for improved inclusive practice for individuals diagnosed with Dyslexia, ADHD, and Autism.
Gilbert said the Special Education Policy, which is expected to transform the education landscape for special needs students in Grenada, is presently before the Cabinet for approval. He explained that it will focus on inclusive practices in education, the code of practice in referring students to special needs, the inclusion of ICT in building teaching and learning outcomes and the need for curriculum redesign to cater for special needs students more effectively.
The Permanent Secretary said, “Clearly this intervention by Lesley University and Authentic Caribbean Foundation could not have come at a better time.”