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Left to right: Dr. Mackey-Morley, Dr. Ava Thompson, Dr. Thalia Miclewhite, Dr. Faith Butler and Dr. Deborah Wright.

Seminar Focuses on Connecting Literacy, Technology, Special Education and Mental Health

Four members of the faculty of Social & Educational Studies at the University of The Bahamas came to Abaco to conduct a two-day workshop for local teachers.

The event, held at Patrick J Bethel High School, was hosted by Dr. Chervon Mackey- Morley, representative of the University of The Bahamas on Abaco. A room-full of teachers representing various schools of the island- public and private- attended the workshop.

The seminar was held under the theme of “Bridging the Gap through Strategic Teaching.”  It dealt with pro-active methods of teaching involving hands-on practices. The event was following a similar seminar that took place in Nassau in April; the local presentation was to precede one in Freeport the first week in July.

Dr. Mackey- Morley explained that there will be follow-up presentations on other islands each month.

The aim of the workshop was to bring teachers to use methods of teaching pertaining to the 21st century while keeping a connection between educators and students.

Reading to a classroom full of teachers, Dr. Margo Blackwell demonstrated the importance of reading to the students to draw them into a story and give them a passion for reading.

“We have an obligation to read aloud to our children. To read them things they enjoy.”

A technique to make learning interesting was introduced by Dr. Faith Butler, Associate Professor at the School of Education, University of The Bahamas, through a program named Gamestar Mechanic that teaches kids how to create video games.

Deborah Wright, Assistant Professor in the School of Education, University of The Bahamas, with a Master’s in Multiple Disabilities from Gallaudet University, covered the challenges relating to teaching children with disabilities.

Dr. Thalia Miclewhite, Chair of the School of Education at the University of The Bahamas, is the founder and Board Chair of the Bahamas Association of Science Education.  Passionate about Science Education as critical to national development, she stressed the importance of using the modern teaching tools available to ensure that The Bahamas has a place in the global market.

A guest speaker on mental health, Dr. Ava Thompson, Director of the Bahamas Institute for Child and Adolescent Mental Health, addressed the teachers’ assembly during the second day’s presentation.

Together with other psychologists, Dr. Thompson thinks that there is a global mental crisis among the youth of the planet. She brought awareness of this problem during her presentation.

She explained that several organizations have come together to address the issue, with governments collaborating with the private sector, mentioning that “A collective approach was needed to tackle the issue.”

“Teachers are the gate keepers of children’s well-being,” she said, “and as such have a responsibility together with social workers, guidance counselors, nurses and youth leaders to look at statistics to establish the roots of the problem and intervene with the ones displaying the problems.”

She explained that an overall community driven program was being developed that will be tailored to address individual problems on each island.

There is a need for services regarding mental and psychological health, with experts and financial resources needed to establish them, she explained.

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