Chronicles of a Principal Aspirant: Moving into the Era of Children First: A Paradigm of Change

Chronicles of a Principal Aspirant:  Moving into the Era of Children First: A Paradigm of Change

Lavern Stewart


The Challenge

School leadership is challenging especially in the context in which we now operate. There are evaluations based on test scores, budget cuts, strong development of an accountability culture and the constant need to find creative ways of engaging stakeholders and promoting school success.  On top of that, schools have students who are living in extreme poverty; students with social-emotional issues, and in many cases, leaders are expected to take on the role of parents and caregivers. The educational landscape is changing rapidly and students are becoming more diverse than ever and they continue to bring many of society’s problems to the school.  It's hard...


Growing Early STEM Talent: An Imperative for Increased Tertiary STEM Enrolment

Growing Early STEM Talent: An Imperative for Increased Tertiary STEM Enrolment

Author: Novlet Alicia Plunkett

The term Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) has been in the public sphere for over 15 years, with initiatives designed across different countries to increase literacy in this area. Despite the efforts, significant progress with STEM has been hindered due, in part, to the absence of a clear understanding of what STEM is, and the varied definitions that exist. It is believed that existence of the varying perspectives on STEM is as a result of the wide variety of individuals and groups with an interest in the area, and the differing roles they play in schools, institutions of higher education, industries, government and the wider society (Breiner, Harkness, Johnson & Kochler, 2012). These stakeholders have a tendency to define STEM from the perspective of its impact on their lives. For the purpose of this discourse, the operational definition on STEM education, outlined below, will be used.

Jamaica on the cutting edge of Curriculum Design: The National Standards Curriculum

Jamaica on the cutting edge of Curriculum Design: The National Standards Curriculum (NSC)

Mrs. Lena Buckle-Scott


The Education System Transformation Programme (ESTP) has been working assiduously since 2009 to modernize Jamaica’s Education System in keeping with the 2004 Task Force Report on Education Reform. The ESTP has made considerable progress regarding: the modernization and transformation of the Ministry, as well as, legislative and policy reform and system improvement. Curriculum Reform has been an integral component in the transformation of the system. The curricula for primary and lower secondary levels have been completely revised. The revision of the curricula commenced in 2012 and between 2014 – 2016 there was a pilot after which, implementation commenced on a phased basis in September 2016.

Mass Customization in Education


Mass Customization in Education

What is Mass Customization and how can it be applied to Education?

Mass customization in a general context, according to Investopedia, refers to the design, production, marketing and delivery of customized products and services on a mass basis. It means that customers can select, order, and receive a specially configured product--often choosing from hundreds of product options to meet their individual needs.   Build-to-order is a common synonym for mass customization. It makes for the affordability of more goods of very good quality on a wider range of economic levels according to the demand of the customer. Can education be treated in the same way? Can it be tailored to the demand of the individual learner thereby providing new opportunities for creating tailor made learning pathways that respond to the individual characteristics of a high number of students? Let us think carefully, What if we were to consider mass customization within the education system? I would like to proffer that it is about time we commence using mass customization as an approach for ensuring that we meet the needs of every single Jamaican child, who is deserving of the kind of quality education that will assist him or her to take his or her rightful place in society.

Leading with Self-Efficacy (Leading from Within) – Practical Strategies

Leading with Self-Efficacy (Leading from Within) – Practical Strategies

Mrs. Grace Baston


“People’s beliefs about their abilities have a profound effect on those abilities. Ability is not a fixed property; there is a huge variability in how you perform. People who have a sense of self efficacy bounce back from failures; they approach things in terms of how to handle them rather than worrying about what can go wrong.” Albert Bandura, Self-Efficacy: The Exercise of Control, 1997.

We are told that one of the most deleterious legacies of the colonial experience is a crippling self-doubt in the colonized people.  We are plagued by a lack of trust in our own ability to act effectively and even after decades of political independence, still look to powers outside ourselves for validation and the solutions to our problems. If Bandura is correct, then leaders in our Caribbean context have to confront and overcome not just a personal, but a culturally reinforced sense of insecurity, in order to arrive at the self-efficacy necessary for leadership. There are no shortcuts or simple formulas for undoing the result of centuries of indoctrination, but there are internal resources on which we can draw to nurture our confidence, our self-reliance and our faith in our own capacity to effect transformation.

The Nature of Leadership: Traits of Effective School Leaders


The Nature of Leadership: Traits of Effective School Leaders

Mrs. Pauline Reid


As educators, we have read books and examined research findings on the traits of effective school leaders; however, an effective school leader understands the difference between knowledge and wisdom. Knowledge is knowing that a tomato is not a vegetable, but a fruit; and wisdom is knowing not to include it in a fruit salad. It is therefore this writer’s objective to proffer some very practical, practicable and current realities based largely on experiential qualifications. Invariably we take up the position of school leader and we possess the requisite knowledge; but wisdom is knowing to lead in your own setting, and to construct new knowledge from your experiences. So the persons who have a wealth of experience can help to steer other leaders away from likely professional pitfalls.

Transformational Leadership: Leading From the Core


Transformational Leadership: Leading From the Core

Dr. Taneisha Ingleton


We all want to see things change. We all want to be part of something meaningful and we all want to be fulfilled in our jobs. Nobody gets up and goes to work with the intention of messing things up. Our behaviours and dispositions are often screaming one thing, ‘the need to feel valued, respected and appreciated for what we do’. How then can these seemingly simple needs be met in an organization? Who has the time or the tenacity to ensure that each worker is being valued, effective behaviours are lauded and ineffective performance is respectfully communicated and strategies for improvement employed? Seriously, whose job is it to be checking organizational temperatures, monitoring and evaluating, visioning, strategizing, anticipating and planning for change?  Isn’t it much easier to just go to work and focus on our little desks and leave? The answer to that is a resounding no. Every member of the organization has a role to play in the ethos of the workplace and the professional well-being of our colleagues. However, it takes a certain kind of leadership to set the pace and shape the culture of the organization for each member to see themselves in the big picture.