STEP Workers Assigned to Public Primary Schools in St. Kitts to Benefit From Soft-skills Workshop

The content originally appeared on: ZIZ Broadcasting Corporation

Basseterre, St. Kitts, April 11, 2022 (SKNIS): Several persons on the Skills Training Empowerment Programme (STEP), who are attached to public primary schools in St. Kitts, will benefit from a one-day soft skills workshop held at the Caribbean Confederation of Credit Unions (CUNA) in Basseterre on Monday, April 11.

Permanent Secretary in the Office of the Prime Minister with responsibility for STEP, Osbert DeSuza, described the training as timely and extremely important. He noted that children learn by observing, therefore, teachers must be mindful of their behaviour around students.

“I want to impress upon you that your actions, attitude, choice of words and mannerisms can impact the very young minds with whom you interact at a primary school. Primary school students spend a considerable amount of time in your presence, under your supervision, some of them spend more time with you than what they spend with their parents,” said Permanent Secretary DeSuza. “There will be some cases, of course, where teachers and teaching assistants have to influence the behaviour of some of these young children and you don’t influence people’s behaviour by talking, you influence people’s behaviour by action.”

Mr. DeSuza said that people are now at a stage or age in life where they can appreciate that their actions will be more remembered than their choice of words when communicating. He encouraged the teachers to be very mindful of that one fact as an unacceptable attitude can have a negative impact on students.

“You are influencing young minds and the country is depending on you to set proper examples for these young persons. Your interaction with them needs to be positive at all times and there should be no excuse where you have a negative interaction with one of these young minds at a primary school,” he said.

PS DeSuza added that some students come from very stressful homes and when they come to school they are looking for a different environment and interaction with their peers and the staff. Therefore, it is extremely important for teachers to be gentle and encouraging.

“Be pleasant to them. We want the environment at our schools to be an environment in which our kids feel comfortable. When they wake at morning we want them to be excited about going to school. We want them to feel that even if things are not good at home, when I go to school, Ms. Joseph, Mr. DeSuza, Mr. Greene is there to greet me, find out what my concerns are and make me feel that it is worthwhile leaving my house and coming to school at mornings,” he said.

Topics such as conflict resolution, teamwork and workplace communication were included in the soft-skills workshop.  The workshop was conducted in collaboration with the Ministry of Education.