Answering the ‘calls’

Between 1999 and 2006 there have been calls for the introduction of teacher education and training programmes in the Cayman Islands.

The University College, remaining true to its mission of contributing to the Caymanian society, responded to the calls by implementing accredited reflective teacher education and training programmes. These programmes have been rigorously scrutinised by local experts in the field of education and validated by organisations such as the regionally and internationally recognised Joint Board of Teacher Education, University of the West Indies and the University of Miami’s prestigious school of Education, whose department of teaching and learning ranks number one in the USA. The Joint Board of Teacher Education, University of the West Indies, (the main accrediting body for UCCI teacher education) is also responsible for validating teacher education programmes in the Bahamas, Turk and Caicos Islands, Belize and Jamaica and has been doing so for the past 40 years. Indeed, it is responsible for accrediting institutions from which a large portion of teachers presently serving on the islands and stalwart Caymanian educators, received their training.

The validation of the University College teacher education programmes by external academic peers serves to reassure the public that the programmes on offer are not just comparable with those of other jurisdictions, but that the University College has become one of the premier teacher education institutions within the Caribbean and now join the ranks of other note worthy educational establishments in the region. Additionally, as a result of rigorous evaluation leading to accreditation, the University College teacher education department is now an institutional member of the Joint Board of Teacher Education.

The concept of reflection and reflective teaching permeate all facets of teacher education and training at the University College. This supports the present changes in the local education system and school structure which require teachers with the ability to teach reflectively. Indeed, the development of teachers who are reflective practitioners is a key component of the philosophy underpinning current and local educational change. Evidence for using reflection as a guide to teaching in the Cayman Islands can be found in my book entitled ‘Reflection and Reflective teaching, a Case study of four seasoned teachers in the Cayman Islands. Participants in various programmes thought that they had not only developed their reflective capabilities, but gained skills, knowledge and practical experiences which allowed them to function at a high standard, not just in the Cayman Islands but anywhere in the world. They also said that courses taken, had improved their IT skills, developed their self-confidence, and helped them to effectively management their classrooms.

The following are a list of programmes offered and their entry requirements:
Postgraduate Diploma in Education: Bachelor’s degree or its equivalent; Bachelor’s degree (completion, 2 years): Associate Degree or Teachers’ College Diploma or Certificate; Bachelor’s degree (four years): CXC, Cambridge O level, or IGCSE; Teacher’s Aide Certificate: Two CXC, Cambridge O level, or IGCSE or Completed Secondary Education, or over 21 with a job letter verifying employment.     
The University College in its continued effort to respond to various ‘calls’  will be hosting the University of Miami School of Education Master’s degree in advanced professional studies slated to begin in the fall of 2009. This is another indicator of the UCCI remaining true to its mission of contributing to the Caymanian society. Now, we are issuing a ‘call’ to those among us requiring training to better serve and ultimately build up Caymanian society, to take full advantage of the UCCI courses. Will you answer the call? 


By Dr. Mark A. Minott, Assistant Professor, Teacher Education Department University College of the Cayman Islands