Bajans challenged to put pen to paper and produce more
(left) Author and Educator, Annette Maynard-Alleyne chatting with science students as they browse through the newly launched Advanced Level Chemistry for Life (Unit 1) text book by Valerie Moseley after its launch at the Barbados Community College.
Barbados has a strong oral tradition and that needs to be transformed with a greater push by locals to document and publish more literature.
When retired Chemistry teacher and new author and publisher Valerie Moseley issued a challenge to Science students to solve the island’s problems, she got great support from fellow Chem teacher and author Annette Maynard-Alleyne.
Writer of children’s books – ‘The Amazing Fishadell’a and ‘Ronesha wants to dance’ Maynard-Alleyne who works at the Barbados Community College (BCC) said that to see more solutions and ideas coming from not only Barbadians but the region on the whole, there needs to be more writing and publishing of our own stories and techniques.
However, she said it must start in the school with teachers getting students into this new mindset. “We’re taught to be consumers, to just take in and not to tell. But the whole point of education is so that we share,” she urged.
Considering the heavy importation of texts from North America especially, she believes, “We always assume that knowledge has to be imported. We don’t understand that we are purveyors of knowledge as well. Once that starts to catch on, there is going to be a change and this is a start producing our own materials.”
Using the Barbados Community College, Science Division as a prime example, she said that they produce the materials for the students.
Urging that Caribbean people do not understand the wealth of knowledge which they hold, she added, “We are sources of knowledge and once we understand how valuable that knowledge is… We need the scientists, not just Alan Emtage coming out with being the first person to develop a search engine, we have a lot more like those out there.”
And she said that this is not work for just the Science teachers but teachers across the board.
“It needs to be said in every single classroom – in the area of Science, in the areas of the Arts, all that needs to come out so that our students understand that they can produce. We teach them to take in. We certainly need to teach them to put out. The knowledge is there so that we change our environment, so that we find solutions to the problems we have in Barbados – problems with water, problems with pollution, even reading.”
In terms of reading specifically, she lamented, “that’s now becoming a problem in Barbados, but if we produce books that our young children, from very young, that they are interested in, where they see themselves reflected, maybe we can start targeting that problem of reading as well.”
In addition, she called on the students to realize that authoring and publishing call for collaboration. “We can’t do it alone,” she said because there is editing, rewriting, illustrating and many aspects which can be best handled by working with a good team.
Last week when Chem Author Mosely launched the first of her books ‘Advanced Level Chemistry for Life (Unit 1)’, she said that next she will put out a prayer book ‘Living in the spirit’, to be followed by ‘Advanced Level Chemistry for Life (Unit 2)’. Upper Sixers can expect the Unit 2 text to be in print and in circulation by next September for the start of the academic year 2018-2019.
At the book launch she had the work of three other local authors on display. She said, “The Caribbean and Barbados have a number of unknown authors… We purchase all of these books printed from overseas, overseas authors and we have our authors right here.”