FSM Teachers Get a Boost in Teaching Math and Writing at Micronesia Teachers' Education Conference 2010
Kosrae, FSM (FSM Information Services): July 5, 2010 - From June 28th to July 2nd, over a hundred teachers from across the FSM met in Kosrae to attend the Micronesia Teachers' Educations Conference (the "Conference"). The Conference focused on providing teacher training to bridge the gaps found in teaching writing, geometry and problem solving to students in K-12.
On the first day of the conference, Spencin James, President of the College of Micronesia-FSM (COM), and Jimmy Hicks, COM Director of Research and Planning, explained that the entrance test results of students applying for COM, the COMET, showed particular weaknesses in writing and math. These same weaknesses were spotlighted in the results from the FSM National Standardized Tests for Students (NST) and the National Standardized Tests for Teachers.
The Conference was therefore organized this year to address some of the issues revealed by the COMET and NST results. The week of training gave teachers tools and strategies to improve both their knowledge and teaching methods. Workshops covered topics such as: Incorporating Writing in Teaching Math Problem Solving, Understanding Math System Through Software Based Programs, Math Problems for Primary School Teachers, Use of Geometry Boards, and Motivating Reluctant Writers.
Rihner Elias and Melina Saul David, teachers from Madolenihmw High School in Pohnpei, taught a workshop on "Mastering Vocabularies in Geometry." Elias and David explained it was crucial for the teachers to understand the meaning of the words they use in geometry to be able to teach their students. Part of their curriculum included the presentation of games and activities for the teachers to use in their classrooms as an incentive to help the students learn.
Kim Purcell of McGrawHill School Education Group, presented a popular workshop on how to design fun and interactive math teaching strategies in the classroom. Purcell showed how young learners can understand addition and subtraction via physical manipulation of objects, the use of literature, or simply the use of crayons and paper. "I focus on pedagogy," said Purcell; she explained that teachers have to use different methods for the same material because not all children learn the same way.
An intensive 6 hour course was also offered to mathematics specialists teaching math for Grades 9 through 12, covering indices, surds, logarithms, Cartesian coordinate geometry and different calculus. This program was presented by Dr. Kyaw Soe, Senior Specialist from the US federally funded Pacific Resources for Education and Learning.
The Conference included workshops to assist teachers in the proper development of individualized education plans for special education students and other workshops provided material for teachers in the field of vocational training.
"I am very appreciative of this conference," said Kiniosi Edmond, Chairman of the Chuuk Department of Education, "the teachers are learning new techniques, especially in math, to help students learn in ways other than pure memorization."
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