|Becoming a Primary School Teacher in Trinidad & Tobago, Part 2: Teaching Practice - Experience of Trainees (CIE, 2000, 54 p.)|
|Chapter 2: Arrangements For Teaching Practice|
Primary school buildings in Trinidad and Tobago are not uniform. At one end of the spectrum are those schools that are dilapidated and in need of serious repair work. These schools have little by way of amenities. At the other end of the spectrum are the schools which were built in the recent past with funding from the Inter-American Development Bank. These schools have separate rooms for the principal and the staff. They also have room for a science laboratory, although some of the schools have converted these rooms into regular classrooms in order to accommodate more pupils. In spite of these differences, one common feature in nearly all the schools is the open classroom. Typically, one class is divided from another by wooden screens or blackboards. In only few cases are there walls separating the various classrooms. In some schools, only a narrow corridor (and not even a blackboard) separates two classes.
The net result of such poor layout of the physical plant is that the noise level in these schools is quite high, as noise from activity in one class is readily augmented by noise from activity in nearby classes. This is the setting in which trainees are expected to learn their craft.
The school furniture in most schools is also less than desirable. Typically, three or four pupils sit at long, wooden, heavy benches which are a combination of a seat and a desk. These benches are usually packed closely together. This means that there is not much room within which the teacher can move during a lesson. It also means that teachers are limited in the extent to which they can manipulate class furniture to create different learning environments. However, in a few schools, there is enough space to facilitate the rearranging of furniture.