Wednesday, October 1, 2008

St. Mary's U of MN, new Prexy at the helm, also is International!

Just fewer than 200 trained teachers graduated from the Catholic College of Mandeville in Manchester, Jamaica, to give the 21,000-strong profession a significant boost.

The teachers, 198 to be exact, who are all primary educators, graduated from the college's diploma and bachelor's degree programmes at ceremony held at the Kendal Conference Centre on Sunday.

The cadre of graduates, 116 diploma-trained and 82 bachelor's degree recipients, formed the seventh batch of students to leave the Catholic institution over the last 10 years.

President of the college, Dr Una O'Connor, in giving the report for the academic year 2007-2008, said the group of graduates formed the largest from the institution since it started training educators in 1992.

She said there had been significant growth in the college's offerings, with the accreditation of its primary diploma programme by the University Council of Jamaica, as well as with the addition of its bachelor of education degree programme. The improvements, she explained, fell in line with the Ministry of Education's thrust for all primary-school teachers to have at least a first degree.

New dimension

O'Connor further stated that the college had also added a new dimension to what it offered, as it also started a master's degree programme in teaching and learning in July of last year. That programme, she added, was in conjunction with St Mary's University of Minnesota in the United States of America.

The college also acquired a nine-acre property from the Catholic Diocese of Mandeville at Williamsfield in the parish for the construction of a new campus.

According to the college's president, the architectural drawings were already in place for the new campus and preparations were being made to deal with the parish's approval process. She also said efforts were being made to acquire the necessary finances to proceed with the construction of buildings.

Dr Aggrey Irons of the Bellevue Hospital in Kingston, who addressed the graduates, charged them to recognise that their mission did not end at graduation or when they left the profession because they should have passed on what they had learnt to others.

He called on them to remember that every child was theirs and belonged to God. The Jamaica Gleaner

SMUMN --- The Master of Education in Teaching and Learning program is designed for practicing classroom teachers who want to earn a master’s degree as part of a professional learning community. The program is offered in partnership with the Catholic College of Mandeville (CCM) in Jamaica. Courses will be offered at CCM. Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota is the degree-granting institution. The 36-semester-credit program allows teachers to identify, investigate, and transform their beliefs and practices about their teaching and learning. Learners will connect their inquiry to their discipline and apply their learning to their classroom. The learning community will explore aspects of teacher identity and examine best practices and theory as part of individual and community-wide learning experiences. Learning community members work collaboratively and cooperatively to develop and assess their work with performance assessments and professional portfolios. In demonstrating growth on the M.Ed. Program Standards, learning community members will be challenged to develop themselves and their practice through action research and inquiry in areas aligned with the U.S. National Board for Professional Teaching Standards. On-going assessment processes for evaluating monthly plans for learning promote reflection, celebrate learning and structure new learning opportunities. At the conclusion of the learning community experience, members will provide a summary that will detail the applications of their professional development. This
reflection will involve growth demonstrated with both action research and inquiry.

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