Sixty students from two primary schools in Tobago, Charlotteville Methodist and Speyside Anglican, have been given a new lease on learning with the successful completion of their A.R.R.O.W. training marked by a graduation ceremony held in Charlotteville last week. Launched in September 2012 by sponsors BP Trinidad and Tobago, in collaboration with the A.R.R.O.W. Foundation, the programme focused on remedial work in reading and spelling, and assisted students to overcome academic challenges by transforming their entire approach to learning. Speyside Anglican’s Standard Five student, Nyrel Denoon, was honoured as one of the most improved students at the graduation. “I was having problems with my school work, but the training helped me to improve my reading, spelling and writing. I am doing much better in class now and I am sure I will do very well in the SEA exams next year. I’m happy I got this chance to improve and I hope other students will benefit from this wonderful learning experience,” an enthusiastic Nyrel explained. The graduation marked the end of the first cycle of training that has benefitted over 180 students in six primary schools from both Tobago and Trinidad.
Driven by the vision and support of bpTT, the programme was also expanded to include A.R.R.O.W. tutor training for three teachers in each of the participating primary schools. Joel Primus, Community Sustainability and Stakeholder Relations Advisor, bpTT, explained the company’s support of the project: “From pre-primary to post-graduate level, we are providing opportunities to support education, which is one of the main pillars of our many social investment initiatives. Helping these students to develop their full potential is critical to their future , but by expanding the programme to train teachers to implement the A.R.R.R.O.W. programme, bpTT is ensuring that this intervention is sustained.” Amryl Joseph-Bruce, a teacher with Charlotteville Methodist Primary School for the past 22 years, said she was energised by the A.R.R.O.W. tutor training, “The children of today are digital learners and this programme is in line with the future demands of an evolving education system. As a teacher, I feel like my capabilities have been boosted because now I can reach out to the weaker students and use the A.R.R.O.W. programme to make them successful learners.” Principal of Speyside Anglican Primary School, Janice Lewis, commended the initiative: “Through this experience, the students have improved academically, in addition to boosting their self-esteem. Through this multi-sensory approach and the use of technology, they are more confident and prepared for the world of learning. The results show that bpTT and the A.R.R.O.W. Foundation have given these future Tobago leaders wings to soar and achieve their dreams.” A.R.R.O.W. stands for Aural – Read – Respond – Oral – Write and the technique is focused on reading, spelling, dictation, speech and listening skills, which produce significant results in those who have learning difficulties.
The computer-based learning also applies use of the self-voice – a recording of the learner’s own voice – which forms the basis of the multi-sensory learning approach. The local A.R.R.O.W. Foundation is a non-profit organisation led by director Christopher Bonterre. “This training is part of a quiet learning revolution that adds value and complements traditional teaching methods. Based on the assessments, some of these students have experienced over two-year improvements in terms of their reading and spelling ages. Interacting with these children and seeing their new-found passion for learning is validation of the investment that bpTT is making in the personal development of these students,” Bonterre said.