English Literature taking its spotlight at BCC
L-R: Dean of the Division of Liberal Arts at the Barbados Community College (BCC), Dr Jean Butcher-Lashley, with the founder of the Gabrielle Gay Award for Excellence in Reading and Literacy, Gabrielle Gay.
One discipline at the Barbados Community College (BCC) is plotting a path to allow its students to be recognized for outstanding work and it is all thanks to a young woman you continues to be a pioneer for that subject area in Barbados.
“As an avid, high achieving student of English Literature myself - taught under the impeccable tutelage of Dr Jean Butcher Lashley, and recipient of the now defunct John Wickham Scholarship for Excellence in English Literature - I have recognized the unfortunately stark lack of recognition of English Literature students across the curriculum in Barbados.”
Those were the words of Gabrielle Gay, the founder of the Gabrielle Gay Award for Excellence in Reading and Literacy, which is an annual Reading Trophy and Literacy Mentorship Programme, which rewards high achievers in literacy, as well as mentors remedial readers.
She lamented “personally witnessing this lack of attention directly affect students' motivation and performance” and is therefore taking action to bring the subject into the spotlight.
Now that award is providing the platform for students at the BCC to be acknowledged for success in this discipline through, the Gabrielle Gay Award for Excellence in the Associate Degree of English Literature.
Gay stressed that while the influence of English Literature is sometimes not recognised by the general public, the discipline has a tremendous impacted on society:
“Most students of the English Literature discipline, generally go on to become our teachers, lecturers of the future - contributing directly to the education of our upcoming generations. Therefore, it is imperative that they are celebrated and their academic efforts are recognized at every level of the curriculum.”
She further pointed to how the analytical skills developed through the study of this subject results in persons being highly discerning:
“The study of English Literature allows you to analyze a person's ‘stream of consciousness’, which is a method where the student notes patterns of speech, use of adjectives, etc., to determine a writer or a person's thoughts and feelings toward something.
“This is extremely useful in determining an individual's motives or intent say, in the workplace. Their words and pattern of speech alone speaks heavily to their character.”
Gay recently announced the award while delivering the feature address at BCC’s Liberal Arts 2018 Orientation Ceremony, where she highlighted the practical applications of the subjects in that department to everyday life.
Dean of Division of Liberal Arts lauded Gay for her “monumental” contribution:
“This award is monumental for the faculty as it is the first award of its kind to be donated to the Barbados Community College and the Liberal Arts Division, and now the only award for English Literature at the Barbados Community College. Its timing is fitting as BCC is also celebrating 50 years of existence.
“We especially love that the award takes into account the moral development of our students. It's wonderful when a former student uses their success to give back philanthropically to their Alma maters. The students are extremely excited about hopefully winning and we thank Gabrielle Davida Gay for this Award, and wish her continued success with her Education and Reading Mentorship Programme.”
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