ICT Professional Development Workshops and Classroom Implementation Challenges: Perceptions of Secondary School Teachers in Trinidad and Tobago
The Ministry of Education (MoE) of The Republic of Trinidad and Tobago has recently embarked on another teacher training program to equip secondary school teachers with the necessary competencies for ICT infusion in their physical classrooms. This study aims to investigate the impact and usefulness of that program, and challenges that the teachers have been facing in its implementation. Thirteen interviews (eight one-on-one and five focused group) were conducted from forty trained teachers. The findings showed that almost all the teachers were quite content and even ecstatic about the workshops and were willing to use the acquired knowledge and skills. Those who were able to use the knowledge and skills attained in the workshops reported improved students’ interest, classroom interaction, and academic performance. However, many expressed disappointments due to the multiple obstacles at their schools which prevented them from fully and effectively using the knowledge and skills from the workshops. They specifically reported insufficient number of computers, poor and inapt ICT environment and most importantly, unreliable internet access and connectivity. This study identifies three important elements in the successful implementation of any ICT in education program: willingness (mainly of administrators, teachers and students), training (especially for the teachers) and infrastructure (physical, hardware and software). Although, there was an overwhelming willingness from the teachers (even excitement) and adequate training, issues with infrastructure appear to be preventing the policy from yielding desired results. In order to ensure that the current policy brings the desired results, the MoE must not only provide effective professional development training for teachers, but also furnish schools with the necessary ICT resources and infrastructure. Only then, the MoE may revolutionize the education system through ICT.
Keywords: ICT in education, professional development, teacher training, 21st century skills, Trinidad
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This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International