Teachers are benefiting from virtual professional development online workshops delivered by volunteer instructors in the diaspora.
This is being spearheaded by the Jamaica Diaspora Taskforce Action Network (JDTAN) through its ongoing weekly workshops, titled, JAMINARS. More than 2,000 teachers have registered for JAMINARS to date.
The next JAMINAR, ‘Coping with COVID-19 – Selfcare for teachers and parents’, will be held on Wednesday, April 22 from 7:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. Some of the topics to be discussed include anger management, conflict resolution and backyard gardening.
Resource persons are Clinical Psychologist, Dr. Beverly Gordon; and Dr. Grethel Bradford, who works as a full-time Professor of Psychology and Counselling in the United States. Teachers and the public can register for the online sessions via the link http://jaminarsignup.callingalljamaicans.org/.
Jamaica Diaspora Advisory Board Member, Leo Gilling, told JIS News that the workshops, which provide professional development opportunities for teachers and administrators, are now focusing on issues pertaining to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
“When we got into the pandemic we had to open them into general discussions, which we are doing very well,” he said, noting that the teachers “talk about their challenges right now and about finding ways to get the students to keep busy”.
“Almost every Sunday, we have talks with professionals back home,” he added, pointing out that psychotherapists are also included in the discussion.
Gilling said that the Network is discussing the inclusion of professional development for police officers and nurses.
“We are trying to open the channels of communication with police officers and nurses but this is a challenge, but we will definitely have to do it,” he continued.
A workshop held on Sunday, March 15 examined the topics: Child development and the impact of trauma on their physical, cognitive and social development; and understanding the anatomy of trauma.
The diaspora board member said the workshop was designed to increase knowledge of the different types of stress and their related signs and symptoms and to highlight the impact of exposure to trauma on the individual and professional performance.
It was also designed to help participants identify the physical, cognitive and social impact of trauma on students between the ages of six and 18, as well as prescribe guidelines that administrators and teachers can employ when supporting their at-risk student population.
JDTAN is a network of 15 sector-based Jamaica Diaspora Taskforces across several sectors, including agriculture, crime and health.