A legacy of excellence
FORMAL TEACHER education in Barbados had its genesis in the Rawle Institute, established in 1912 at Codrington College, St John. However, after 33 years in operation, it ceased to function in 1945. This gave rise to the establishment of the Erdiston Teachers’ Training College (ETTC) which opened its doors on January 19, 1948, welcoming a total of 32 Barbadian students. There was only one teacher training programme at the time. Seventy years later, the institution has a role of 437 students in its teacher training programmes and 230 students in its continuing education programme with seven programmes now being delivered.
The progress of the institution was rapid in the early years with a significant milestone being reached in 1954 when the College became a regional teacher training institution and admitted 15 teachers from across Grenada, St Lucia, St Vincent, Montserrat, Dominica, and Tortola. Though the establishment of teacher training institutions throughout the Caribbean has resulted in this practice being discontinued, Erdiston College remains a beacon of teacher education in the region and is often called upon to participate in the decisionmaking processes for issues related to teacher education.
In 1964, Erdiston College became a constituent of the School of Education of the University of the West Indies, and the close relationship which was forged still continues today. The Diploma in Education Primary and Secondary programmes are delivered on franchise from the University of the West Indies.
The period of the late 1990s and beyond was of considerable significance for the College with respect to the development and expansion of teacher training. Erdiston Teachers’ Training College provided training to teachers participating in the Education Sector Enhancement Programme commonly dubbed (EduTech 2000).
This programme also exposed tutors to extensive staff development activities in technology infusion in education. This exposure equipped tutors to carry out the implementation requirements of the programme at the College as well as in the schools. There was also a significant shift in approaches to classroom teaching at this time with the emphasis being placed on child-centred and constructivist strategies. Since then, the use of technology at the College has become critical for the purposes of research, materials production, communication and teaching. The College has also utilised blended modalities in the facilitation of some of its programmes.
During the period 2001-2007, Erdiston partnered with Mount Saint Vincent University, Canada, to facilitate delivery of its Master of Education and Bachelor of Education programmes for teachers in Barbados. In recent times, ETTC has partnered with the Ministry of Education to effect the implementation of its School Teacher Effectiveness Plans (STEPs) programme in primary and secondary schools. This programme is aimed at improving the effectiveness of teaching and learning.
THE ADMINISTRATIVE AND LIBRARY staff of the Erdiston Teachers’ Training College. (CSG)