Monthly Archives: March, 2012

Are you tired of teaching?

Over the past month I have spoken to three colleagues who have all expressed frustration with teaching today! Indeed, only one of them is willing to stick it out for a while. The other two will be gone by the end of this school year! They are all excellent teachers who still have a contribution to make to the development of our young people. At times, I too get frustrated…then I get to see scenes as portrayed in this video …
For the sake of the next generation of police, nurses, chefs, teachers, pilots etc…

Are teachers abusing school phones?

Several schools across the state have been affacted by the programme of disconnection for unpaid bills recently carried out by LIME. We have since learnt that the unpaid bills had nothing to do with the government’s lack of resources or inability to pay. Instead, it is a question of poor mangement and abuse.

The abuse of the phone service in government departments and agencies including school is rampant! That is the conventional view. In the case of schools we must accept the fact that phone bills are high due partly or wholly to abuse by teachers. Should we sit back and accept this view?

Pause for a moment and consider the following points:

  1. Since about 2005 every single teacher is in possession of one or two or even three mobile phones.
  2. The preferred mobile phone or similar device for your average teacher is a smartphone (BlackBerry, iPhone etc).
  3. The preferred modes of communication is texting or “bbming”, or chatting on MSN and Yahoo Messenger.  Note: The phone is hardly ever used for “talking”.
  4. It is easier and safer to gossip with a colleague, friends and family using a mobile handset instead of using the school phone which is invariably an old time fixed line handset situated in a public place.
  5. Most, if not all fixed lines in schools are on a the “flat fee” plan and are generally barred from making calls to mobile phones and overseas numbers.

In this context, it is difficult to figure out why and how a teacher would abuse a school phone. The old land line is simply no longer the preferred means of communicating. This is the 21st century; it is the age of FB and Twitter! Why would any teacher go into the office or staff room and spend hours on the school phone?

Call me daft! But, it just does not make any sense to me!

Cheating on SBAs? CXC gets tough!

Cheating on SBAs has been one of my pet peeves over the years. In their haste to submit their projects, students have tried every trick in the book to gain an advantage. There is no point in detailing their cheating strategies here. Suffice it to say, at one point,  I once considered challenging the validity of the SBA component  of CXC exams.

I am sure that CXC has been aware of the problem over the years. They have now decided to get tough with the culprits. Apparently, with the growth of ICT, cheating has become even more widespread and more complicated.

The following was recently reported on the CXC website as concerns emerging from a meeting of officers of the Council.

Problems in SBAs

An issue of major concern which was brought to the fore was plagiarism as it related to School-Based Assessment projects, also called SBAs. In a move to clamp down on dishonesty both on the part of teachers and students Giles said CXC would be toughening its stance and ensuring work was screened in a more meticulous manner. One school, in which the country was not identified, submitted an SBA where it was later discovered that the teacher “repackaged” the project. That teacher, she said, was recommended by CXC to be suspended and all the students in that particular class were not awarded any marks.

Another problem relating to SBAs was that in some cases the projects were not being submitted by students. The result of which led to the student not being graded for the subject. According to The Caribbean Examiner, a publication of CXC, for October 2011 it cited that reported cases of fraud in the 2011 examinations included:

• Collusion in the examination room;

• collusion on SBAs;

• impersonation;

• forged signature;

• taking notes into the examination room and;

• submission of identical practical reports;

• Submission of fabricated SBA marks;

• Submission of SBA projects previously submitted by past students.

It is interesting to note that CXC has found some teachers to be culpable. However, I choose not to comment on that at this time. I would only say that teachers should know that they DO NOT help our young people when the collude with them to cheat on SBAs.

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