Flow employee volunteers provide support for classroom engagement
Teachers across the island are hailing the online gamification engagement strategies recently shared by Flow Jamaica employee volunteers, as fun activities that will help improve class participation and learning.
The strategies were shared during the company’s Mission Week 2021 – an annual companywide community outreach series of virtual and physical events and activities, from November 15-19.
More than 200 primary school teachers participated in the virtual sessions which were held daily over the weeklong event.
Winston Smith, president of the Jamaica Teachers’ Association (JTA) was very pleased with the outcome of the sessions.
“Flow must be commended for the initiative to organize these sessions which helped to significantly enhance the ability of our primary school teachers to maintain the engagement of their students during online classes,” Smith said.
“This is a challenge that many teachers and students face, particularly in the current environment, where most are participating in online learning. Flow has been providing strong support to our teachers via its free certified training programmes and now these sessions. We are very appreciative as we continue the efforts to educate our nation’s children.”
SESSIONS IN RESPONSE TO TEACHERS’ CONCERNS
According to Kayon Mitchell, communications director at Flow, the sessions were in response to concerns raised by teachers regarding the level of engagement and participation of some students in online classes.
“Supporting education and enabling the progress of our children are key areas of interest for us as a business and at our Foundation and so, Mission Week was a great opportunity for us to continue our work in this area. The sessions utilized strategies which included gamification, that is, applying typical elements of online games to enhance the engagement and learning of students. The activity was also aligned with the Learning pillar of our corporate social responsibility focus for Mission Week,” Mitchell shared.
Highlighting the work of the volunteers, Mitchell continued: “Volunteerism is part of our DNA at Flow and our team members were committed to being prepared for the webinars. They attended the briefing sessions and added their own touches to make the sessions fun for the teachers too.”
Nicholas Amore, who was among the Flow volunteers, shared how he felt great joy at seeing the teachers’ excitement as he engaged them in the gamification online teaching strategy.
“The project brought together two of my passions – teaching and volunteerism. I was just really grateful that I could be a part of this awesome initiative,” he said.
Some of the teachers who shared their feedback, included Patrecia Heath-Hayles, vice principal at Old Harbour Bay Primary in St Catherine.
“I am really glad I was a part of this training. I am looking forward to getting the game. I can hardly wait to start using it with my students,” she offered.
Winsome Hines-Bailey, a teacher at Servite Primary in St Ann, shared: “I have always heard about gamification and wanted to know more about it. The session was very informative and it’s now for me to find an innovative way to integrate the game in my class.”
Mental Health Seminar
The teachers also participated in a virtual mental health webinar, ‘Beyond The Classroom – Fostering Mental Health and Wellbeing’, led by Dr Joan Pinkney, educator and counselling psychologist, who took them through various aspects of preserving their mental health and wellbeing.
The STOP (Sit up. Take a breath. Observe and Proceed) Technique, which she shared, held the attention of many participants, particularly when Pinkney engaged them in actual physical exercises.
“I’m telling you; it works! Just stop if you feel overwhelmed! It is a good filler, particularly when you’re at work. I personally use it,” she encouraged.
Francine Watt, a teacher at Clan Carty Primary School in Kingston, was among the participants who shared her feedback on the session.
“Wow! This was a good session. Today wasn’t such a good day and I decided to join the session. Now, I am leaving so much better than when I came in. Thank you,” Watt said.
Tasmin Hayles-Chambers, principal of Treadlight Primary School in Clarendon, shared: “Thank you for today’s session. I feel much better than before I got on.”
Jehan MacDonald-Scott, from Bethel Primary School in Hanover, also gave her feedback.
“I certainly learnt something this afternoon. I will definitely be using the STOP Technique in my class.”