The presence of people originating from other cultures, faiths and backgrounds has technically become what I would constitute as performances of understanding.
Understanding is definitely required to live within this beautiful country and has become “one of” if not “the most” central pillars or main feature of the Cayman Islands, which many people now call home.
It has essentially created the very essence of who the Caymanian people will become in the very near future.
As our children continue to grow and flourish, we need to ask ourselves these questions:
• How can we as a multicultural society respond to diversity. See my previous article: Hello World! Are you there? The importance of communication in a Multicultural World
• How can we as a nation, known famously for our kindness, discuss and counteract issues of discrimination and biases in relation to gender, ethnicity and class?
• How can we as older students, teachers, politicians, preachers and every other kind of leader or world-changer facilitate the needs of our vulnerable young men and women and elevate their academic performances irrespective of their class, ethnicity or gender?
• How can we as a community become champions in this great cause, known simply as “Education”, when we consider each of our school’s policies and classroom procedures?
The Yello Cayman Team has true visionaries, who see the next Premier of the Cayman Islands in 2050, as one of the many gifted and talented children sitting in our classrooms today and I agree!
With that in mind, you will notice that they have taken pride in celebrating education in their 2018 directory. Perhaps, some of the questions I stated previously can be found within their pages as they have meticulously tried to define what it means to be a teacher.
I also noticed that they have painstakingly ensured that they have showcased all youth associations and businesses who are generously investing in education and even reported a few personal interviews to widen their sphere of influence.
Yes, I can truly say they are a testament to the furtherance of education and providing useful and effective information for the community’s enhancement.
However, they can’t do it alone and they should not be the only corporation vigorously trying to create a better, brighter and more robust future for the children of the Cayman Islands and by extension all the children around the world.
I have come to realize that in order to promote and create equity ($$$) in an educational context and provide dividends; teachers need to ‘understand’ how their students learn and how this is affected by their physical, intellectual, linguistic, social, cultural and emotional development.
Source: Department for Education and Skills (DfES), Research Publications or online at: http://www.dfes.gov.uk/research (accessed 9 September 2004).
The research section of the DfES website also hosts a wealth of information that will help you to consider student diversity. The Youth Cohort Study (DfEE 1999c), can be accessed through the lists of selected keywords and offers longitudinal data collected over a number of years.
Biblical examples of Performances of Understanding
Also, most recently I located verses in the bible which once again, demonstrates the importance of understanding from a biblical perspective:
1 Corinthians 14:13
14 For if I pray in a tongue, my spirit prays, but my mind is unfruitful.
15 So what shall I do? I will pray with my spirit, but I will also pray with my understanding; I will sing with my spirit, but I will also sing with my understanding.
16 Otherwise when you are praising God in the Spirit, how can someone else, who is now put in the position of an inquirer, say “Amen” to your thanksgiving, since they do not know what you are saying?
17 You are giving thanks well enough, but no one else is edified.
18 I thank God that I speak in tongues more than all of you.
19 But in the church, I would rather speak five intelligible words to instruct others than ten thousand words in a tongue.
20 Brothers and sisters, stop thinking like children. In regard to evil be infants, but in your thinking be adults.
21 In the Law it is written:
“With other tongues and through the lips of foreigners I will speak to this people, but even then, they will not listen to me, says the Lord.”
23 So if the whole church comes together and everyone speaks in tongues, and inquirers or unbelievers come in, will they not say that you are out of your mind?
24 But if an unbeliever or an inquirer comes in while everyone is prophesying, they are convicted of sin and are brought under judgement by all,
25 as the secrets of their hearts are laid bare. So, they will fall down and worship God, exclaiming, “God is really among you!”
Wow, I love my bible! There is always something useful and practical for everyday living.
So, as I continue my exciting quest of providing, what I hope is being considered useful information to the world, I must confess that it is obviously evident that within our everyday life what we encounter as adults is essentially what was taught to us in school.
See my previous article: Night School/ Day School – The Power of AAA Dow Jones Performances: Aptitude, Ability and Ambition
Think about it!
Undeniably, when we look at what students are learning today in statistics, mathematics, psychology, literature, history, science, art, music etc.
It can all be applied and perhaps already is instinctively applied to everyday living.
See my previous article of The Intelligent Person which also adds more perspective.
According to Howard Gardner, John H. and Elisabeth A. Hobbs Professor in Cognition and Education at the Harvard Graduate School of Education, this is what makes someone a credible candidate for understanding in several disciplines:
• A student of physics should be able to explain the actions of objects and phenomena that they encounter in their everyday world, as well as do demonstrations staged for various purposes within the physics laboratory.
o Such performance may include correctly employing a formula that explains the relation between two variables etc.
• A student of mathematics should be able to measure relevant quantities in their lives, make plausible investments for the short term and the long term and also understand the principles of mortgages and insurance.
o Such performances may include a student opening a savings account and monitoring the fees applied or interest applied based on the activity of the account over a period of time.
I strongly believe we should start teaching our kids about money.
I was doing my usual reading of The Journal and an article by Alessandro Sax also stated that we should start young. He said that with most skills, the earlier in life you are taught the more it becomes second nature.
A child’s foundation of money begins to develop as early as three years old, with studies suggesting that kids’ money habits are already formed by age seven. Knowing this, he believes that parents should take advantage of the everyday teachable money moments.
There’s more information on this particular subject at: www.journal.ky/2018/04/04/teaching-the-next-generation-about-money/
• A student of history should be able to read a daily newspaper or weekly newsmagazine and draw on relevant historical principles both to explain what is happening and to make plausible predictions about what is likely to happen next.
o Such performances may include a student being able to explain Caymanian history to someone ignorant of the sweet old days and illustrate the comparison between then and now.
• A student of literature and the arts should be able to create at least simple works in relevant genres, understand and appreciate the qualities of works from their own cultures and others, and relate these works to their own lives and concerns.
o Such performances may include a student creating a Jamaican song along with the relevant dance moves, or a painting illustrating the rich cultural landscape of South Africa
• A student of Innovation or Creativity should be able solve problems, create products or raise issues in a domain that is initially novel but is eventually accepted in one or more cultural setting.
o Such performances may include a student knowing the basics of creating a website like the following: www.teneishajohnson-dream.com or
o Creating standard blogs like the following: https://teneishajohnsondream.wordpress.com and
o Creative artwork for a charitable cause.
See follow link: https://www.teneishajohnson-dream.com/hello-do-what-you-love-creat8
These are just a few examples products that can be created while displaying creativity and skill all at the same time.
He further goes to suggest that it is clear that understandings can be apprehended and appreciated only if the are performed by a student.
David Olson of the University of Toronto has also emphasized the importance of mastering different mediums (i.e. computers and all the different types of technology and tools used for communication) or symbol systems (like written or graphic materials).
He believes and I also strongly believe that being able to master the use of such instruments is a skill in and of itself.
Psychologist Gavriel Salomon and Roy Pea, both experts on technology and education, have also noted that the vast extent to which a person may illustrate intelligence or as my main theme implies, ‘performances of understanding’ has a lot to do with the instruments or technology applied.
Simply by the use of or having access to a rang of resources like pencils, papers, libraries, newspapers, radios, television, computer networks etc., a person is better able to distribute their thoughts rather than have it concentrated in their head.
I was pleased to read in the Cayman Compass that the Cayman Islands Chamber of Commerce (www.caymanchamber.ky) President Paul Byles will continue to push for bridging the gap between the classroom and the workplace.
He stressed that the chamber would be working to make students more aware of the vocational and technical trade opportunities available in Cayman.
I can honestly say that I have been aware of the Chamber Career Expo, the most recent Careers Guide 2018 booklet and the Chamber of Commerce Professional Development & Training Centre.
I was also genuinely pleased to hear about wonderful progress being made at the Cayman Islands Further Education Centre (CIFEC).
It should be noted that this school is not just a school for students to have the opportunity to re-sit certain external exams which they may not have passed.
This school offers so much more!
The Cayman Islands Further Education Centre offers a variety of certificate and diploma programs, in such areas as art and design, media, health, beauty therapy, hospitality, motor vehicle repair, child care and development and also business.
It also offers work-readiness training. Perfect for my “Performances of Understanding Theory!”
We need to continue to think of ways to strengthen apprenticeship learning and engaging students in all types of projects and educational environments from home to school to the workplace and beyond!