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"The benefits of music education, on an academic learning and education," was the lead to my story. The sources that I used were, Dr. Patricia Dardaine-Ragguet, the Holistic Music School and Holistic Primary School, Yolande Nicholas-Joseph, Michelle Estime and the Associated Board of the Royal Schools of Music website. Throughout preparation for this story, I was given the opportunity to speak with several well-rounded people who are professionals in the field of the arts and specifically, music.
I first spoke to Yolande Nicholas-Joseph, to get insight and background of the various studies, done at universities in the United States. I paid several visits to the Holistic Schools to speak with the director Dr. Patricia Dardaine-Ragguet, to see if I could have gotten a few minutes of her time. An interview was unable to be conducted however; she had given information on both schools that she is the owner and Director of. I was unable to get a hold of Diane Duprey to get her opinion and knowledge on the matter. Instead I spoke to Michelle Estime who works alongside to Diane Duprey. After being given insight to the topic I am coming to the conclusion that in some cases, musical education does provide some basis for young people or people with learning disabilities in an academic and learning environment.
Research was gathered through interviews of Paula Smith the founder Adult literacy Tutors Association(ALTA) and Debbie Tracey a teacher of ALTA to pin point the direction of the association the in light of the vision2020
Vision 2020 has made allowances for all persons to receive a higher education, research has showed between 22-23 percent of persons are functionally literate or illiterate therefore forcing the government and it's ministries to reinstitute programmes to save a generation. Embarking on early childhood programs geared to enhance learning abilities and empowerment of both parents and teacher. The system is hoped to be dynamic enough to stop the failure of the school system in Trinidad and Tobago
Music and the Mind
By: Kemi Ible
The relationship between music education, and academic learning is directly proportional.
There is a stereotype surrounding musically inclined youth. Adults tend to believe that teenagers seek music as means of avoiding school work, issues, or social situations. But experts say that music education enhances learning abilities, such as hand-eye, or hand-eye-feet coordination and mathematical abilities.
Yolande Nicholas-Joseph, a qualified music educator, has seen for herself how much music education has allowed growth, creativity, enhancement of memory skills and mathematical abilities in musically inclined people. She believes that music must be a hands-on activity, and that it complements the academic life.
"Music increases the physiological activity between the left and right brain. It also improves memory skills, and enhances learning skills," she said. She also pointed out that major universities in the United States like University of Michigan, Harvard University, Stanford University, the University of California and Berkeley University,have proven the direct relationship between studying music and academic excellence.
Music education can be used, "Holistically". Our very own Holistic Schools, ensure they incorporate, music education with the academic. According to the Holistic Schools flyer, " The school's curriculum and underlying philosophy on education are holistic, i.e., students are instructed in several fundamental and interrelated areas. The curriculum includes music performance (piano, pan, recorder, cuatro, guitar & voice), music appreciation (classical, jazz, & other local/international genres) and music theory."
Holistic Primary and the Music school, is one of the first schools locally to use this approach. The schools founder, Dr. Patricia Dardaine- Ragguet adapts the teaching system, from Alaskan schools. She continues to develop arts-based curricula for Caribbean children from all walks of life."
According to a recent study done at Stanford University, mastering an instrument improves the ability to process parts of the spoken language problems found in learning disabilities like dyslexia. The study also suggested that "because people are exposed to the broken phrases and syllables within music, pronunciation of words and phrases become more easily relatable to the one learning."
Perseverance: Pictured here is twelve year old drummer, Adriel Shearwood, of Holistic Music School, playing on an electronic drum kit.
Patience is the key to success: The student is challenged to translate and interpret a phrase of music, from a score written for percussion.
Kemi, this story is way too short, did not have enough sources and was not structured well.
Poor Early Childhood Education can lead to literacy problems and school failure, leaving
22-23 percent of the population functionally literate or illiterate. By Patricia Defour
A comparison of results from surveys conducted by the Adult literacy Tutors Association (ALTA) in 1994 and the University of the West Indies in 2005, reported between 22-23 per cent of persons in Trinidad and Tobago were unable to deal with the basic everyday reading and writing. This means that one in every four persons in our country is illiterate.
Literacy according to the criteria set by ALTA in its simplest form is the ability to read and write, to understand a written language. A functionally literate person is an individual who has the ability to read an instruction and answer by writing a simple sentence in response.
Paula Smith the founder of the ALTA said, "The government is continually putting systems in place to elevate the literacy level in Trinidad and Tobago in moving towards the vision 2020," BUT she feels that the biggest obstacle toward increasing literacy is a culture of keeping up appearances.
The government has embarked upon "Early Childhood Education of quality to prevent school failure in Trinidad and Tobago and in Primary schools implementation of professional development practices that will transform the education systems." These are steps being taken to reach the vision2020 as stated in a power point presentation 'Early childhood education _the solution to grade repetition' drafted by the Ministry of Education.
The presentation also stated that the factors that promoted school failure were due to a lack of access, affordability to high-quality early childhood care and education programmes, superficial and inappropriate adult/child interactions, high teacher/child ratio, Increase in grade retention, repetition at infant year one and two at the primary school level, absence of quality standards for caregivers and early years educators and lastly the lack of use of authentic assessment strategies.
Debbie Tracey a teacher at ALTA taught for the greater part of nine years at the Malick Secondary School, noted that there's more at play that what has been mentioned before " early learning disabilities like dyslexia, accidents at birth and partial blindness are also factors that affect literacy, some of which go unnoticed at the early stages of life," she said.
According to the Dyslexia Association of Trinidad and Tobago, dyslexia is a congenital organizing disability which impairs hand skills, short term memory, and perception so inhibiting the development of a child's literary skills-particularly reading, writing and spelling, and sometimes numeracy. In its effects, dyslexia can range from slight reading or spelling difficulties to complete illiteracy.
The Ministry of Social Development, Health, Youth and Gender affairs and the national security are working in collaboration with the ministry of education to achieve the 2020 vision and to empower both parents and teachers to cope with anomalies that may arise. As evident in the presentation on Early Childhood it's guiding philosophy of the Ministry of education that "all children regardless of ethnic group, religion ,socio-economic status, gender have a right to become all they are capable of becoming."
Patricia, you started off relatively well with your lead and with the ALTA president's opinion on why the litracy figures are the way they are. But somewhere along the line you veered off track and started giving me a lot of irrelevant information that didn't fit with your lead or with what you wrote before.
A raise for Dyslexics in Trinidad and Tobago
By: Jessica Radhay
Living with dyslexia at a tender age in life is very difficult to deal with especially when the disability has not been identified properly. According to Stephen Broadbridge, a well-known photographer who is dyslexic, in his primary school days, he was laughed at and got beaten regularly by teachers who thought he was a dunce. Ten percent of all school-aged children in Trinidad are believed to have Dyslexia and four out of every ten need special help with this complexity.
The Dyslexia Association of Trinidad and Tobago and ESHE'S, a school for only the dyslexics are two local recognized groups which deal with dyslexics, provide help and support a substantial amount of special education for the children who need it. According to the Dyslexia Association's website, "Dyslexia or Specific Learning Difficulty, is a congenital organizing disability which impairs hand skills, short term memory, and perception so inhibiting the development of a child's literary skills-particularly reading, writing and spelling, and sometimes numeracy. In its effects, dyslexia can range from slight reading or spelling difficulties to complete illiteracy."
Dyslexics are word blind and there are early signs and levels of this disability. Secretary of the Dyslexia Association of T&T, Rosemarie Henderson said, 'Early signs of a dyslexic child are when he or she can't tie their shoe laces, are very clumsy, don't remember what they spell and don't seem to be able to rhyme. This happens mostly in males than females because of genetics. Parents should be very patient and don't expect a dyslexic child's work to be perfect.' Dyslexia can't be cured but there are strategies which are being taught. For example, the Dyslexic Association teaches one child at a time, twice a week for one hour. Students undergo an assessment in which teachers work out the level either mild or severe to get the child to read. According to ESHE'S principal Dr Esla Lynch, 'Children are taught in small groups of threes and fours using flash cards and a method known as the LIPS (Linda mood Phonemic Sequencing Programme).
Being dyslexic may be tough but most individuals strive to achieve greatness even though they have a learning disorder. Dr Esla Lynch who is the principal of ESHE'S is dyslexic. Dr Lynch said, " Always being called dumb gave me the encouragement in which I pursued my degree."
Stephen Broadbridge also added, 'It was a relief to know what was the reason of his inability to learn and is glad that dyslexia is being identified throughout Trinidad and Tobago in a more productive manner.'
Secretary of the Dyslexia Association of T&T said, ' The government offered students support services which enabled psychologists to treat dyslexic children at their organization but it has stopped because Mrs. Hazel Manning is no longer the minister of education. It has helped an enormous number of dyslexics in its existence but special help should be awarded to children who suffer from this disability in more regions of the country and in our sister isle as well.'
This is not a very coherent story.