(GIS) – The Special Education sub-sector in Saint Lucia sought to find wholesome solutions to a wide range of issues currently affecting the sector, during a recent National Training Seminar in Special Education.
The objective of the two-day seminar is to equip those who care for learners with challenging behaviours, with the skills necessary to provide support in a manner that preserves human dignity while maximizing opportunities for achievement and self-governance. The seminar also supports learners with Special Educational Needs, and included teachers at Special-Ed schools, as well as Special-Ed teachers in mainstream schools. A small group of parents were also in attendance, as potential beneficiaries of the training that teachers will receive for continuity of behavioral management.
Education Officer for Special Education, Dale St. Juste said the training will help reduce the likelihood of behavioral problems interfering with achievement at school.
“We are mindful that learners with developmental disorders and significantly-disadvantaged learners as well those from difficult backgrounds are likely to present with behaviors that stretch teachers beyond the expertise they have acquired during their formal teacher training. It is for this reason that we are keen to furnish teachers with additional tools that will strengthen their capacity as effective instructors.”
Chief Education Officer, Fiona Mayer, said working with special needs children requires more than a mindset shift; it involves working on people’s hearts.
“If we are empathetic, if we are grateful for life, if we appreciate that we all come at it from different points, we will start to open up our hearts which will impact how we think. Special educators know that if we don’t have love for the people that we work with, it won’t work. We need to move away from the labelling of individuals.”
Keynote Speaker Dr. Jacqueline Bird, spoke on the executive function within the setting of the school system. Executive function is a set of mental skills including working memory, flexible thinking, and self-control, that we use every day to learn, work, and manage daily life.
“Are you modelling executive functioning? If I can stay outside the gate and hear you belittling a child; you are not modelling executive functioning. If you hear what’s happening at the principal’s office to your student and you don’t leave and rescue him, then you are not practicing executive functioning.”
The activity was held under the theme “Facing the Challenge with Effective Behaviour Solutions.”