Basic-school principal hosts free online lessons
KEREEN HIBBERTS, principal of Marcus Garvey Basic School, Kingston, has been hosting free online reading lessons to assist students who are at home due to the coronavirus pandemic. Schools across Jamaica have been closed since mid-March.
The educator, whose experience spans a decade, posts her lessons on social media platforms – Facebook, Instagram and video-sharing platform YouTube.
She told The Gleaner that illiteracy among parents was one of the factors for launching the initiative. “I decided to do the online lessons because l know that reading is sometimes a challenge for some children, especially during this corona isolation, as they are going to be out [of school] for a long time and it will cause problems for those who are already struggling. I am also cognisant of the fact that some parents, unfortunately, may not know how to help their children, due to illiteracy.”
YouTube , according to online data, is the second most visited site in the world, attracting 44 per cent of Internet users with one billion hours of content watched per day. Hibberts’ YouTube channel has so far garnered over 100 views with 185 subscribers.
The St Joseph’s Teachers’ College graduate said, “Parents also may not have the time or patience to teach their children. I believe that once children grasp a substantial number of letter sounds, they can start reading as early as four years old. I also know that some parents teach children to read mostly through memorising words and not through letter sounds or phonetic activities. Therefore, I took on the initiative to do these lessons to let parents become aware of the benefits of teaching reading through letter sounds and not just memorising.”
Hibberts, who has three children of her own, said she is passionate about early-childhood education and described herself as an advocate for reading. She told The Gleaner that the response to the online initiative has been ‘overwhelming’. “It has been overwhelming. Parents have reached out to me and are grateful for the lessons, and I am pleased that they are benefiting from them.”