Publication Date: May 24, 2019 (Second Edition)



Schooling for five-year-olds in Trinidad and Tobago became compulsory in the mid-60s. She was a frail little girl, nervous about separating from her mother to whom she had an extraordinarily strong attachment—a relationship that developed during her turbulent period of infancy. Her mother took her to school for the first time. She felt detached and abandoned and she struggled to settle into the school routine. […]

Questions about Audience

Authors are known to almost always write with an audience in mind
(People who they would like to read the book)

It is important to know who the intended audience is. This is so because it helps you to make informed comments on writers’ techniques and evaluate how effective they are if you are clear about the intended readership the author has in mind.

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A full study of any text involves a good understanding of what the content is about, an analysis of the way in which the writer goes about expressing these thoughts, and an evaluation of how effective the author is in conveying the said ideas to the reader.

To ensure that individuals are given opportunities to develop their reading skills, questions based on different aspects of the text are frequently explored. Some questions entail finding bits of information that you can easily locate within the text. Others involve a range of other types and levels of questions that require closer engagement with the text.

Readers’ responses will obviously be of different lengths. This all depends on what each question is asking for. It is important that one takes time to carefully interpret each question. Some questions have more than one part. Make sure that all responses address each part of the question. If not, the answer would most certainly be incomplete.

So when answering a question, ensure that each point you make is supported by evidence from the text. Your evidence can be a quotation, which should not be long. Alternatively, you can simply make reference to a part of the text. Having done this, you need to explain in what way or ways your evidence supports the point you are making. Follow the structure, Point, Evidence and Explain (PEE)

You will find yourself producing some very impressive answers!

Remember that your best will always do!

Here is a selection of literary terms that writers frequently use.
A good level of knowledge and understanding of these technical terms will prove to be very useful when studying a text.


Imagery– It is a literary device used to appeal to the reader’s five senses: touch, taste, smell, feeling and hearing. Imagery influences imagination and help to build clear mental pictures of something or someone. In other words, it is the picture that is formed of a place, person, object, texture…feeling, as it is being described.

Metaphor – It is a device used for comparison to give a vivid description of anything or anyone, in order to assist the reader to understand the thought that is being conveyed. For example, the metaphor, ‘The woman is a lion’ does not really mean that she is a lion in the true sense of the word but the expression is used to describe the nature of the person. In this case, the writer is hoping that the reader will make the connection between the characteristics of the lion and that of the woman.

Alliteration – It the repetition of initial sounds. Sometimes, writers use three or more words beginning with the same sound. For example, ‘phone, funny fellow floated’ Observe that each of these words starts with the same sound. The words could be slightly separated, and do not have to follow consecutively. Alliteration forces the reader to slow down and focus on the words. It encourages the reader to pay attention to the thought the writer is expressing.

Personification – This is when the writer uses human characteristics to describe inanimate objects

Onomatopoeia – When the word and what it is describing sounds alike. It is used to make writing realistic.

Tone – Is the feelings and attitude of the writer

Mood – The mood is the emotions the reader experiences

Repetition -The repeat of word/words, sentence/sentences and line/ lines. It slows down the reader and engages their attention with the words that are being repeated.

Connotation – Something is written or said that is not clearly stated but implied

Analogy – This is a comparison to show similarity of one thing to the other. For example, ‘Getting a slice of Mary’s cake is like hoping to see a blue donkey’

Language – This is the use of words and phrases

Sensory – Language has to do with the use of the five senses. It is when words and phrases are meant to affect the five senses (touch, smell, hearing, feel, taste)

Simple sentence is a sentence with one main clause

Compound sentence is a sentence with two main clauses, joined by a conjunction

Complex Sentence is a sentence with one main clause and a subordinate clause.

Structure is the order in which ideas in the text are arranged.

Style is the way in which the writer creates the text.

Chronological Structure is a structure that tells a story in the sequence of events that they occur.

Linear Structure is another way of saying chronological structure. The events are told in sequence.

Non- Linear Structure is one in which the story is not told in sequence

Cinematic Structure moves from one focus to another in a way that makes the reader feels as though they are watching a movie.

Context has to do with when and where the text is written. Context is historical and cultural and influences the way a writer approached the creation of text.

Figurative Language is words or descriptions that are not to be taken literary. It is used for effect. For example, ‘As I looked out my window, I saw a sea of people’ ‘a sea of people’ is simply saying that there were a great number of people.

Flashback occurs when the writer takes you from a present event to one in the past.

Pace has to do with the quickness with which the writer takes the reader through the text.

Inversion is used when the writer rearranges the normal order of words to achieve a desired effect.

Motif is when an idea or image keeps on presenting itself in a text.

Narrative is a piece of writing that tells a story or relates an experience

Empathy is when you imagine and connect with the feelings of others

Narrative Viewpoint is the perspective of the person who is writing. This can be determined by establishing whether the text is written in 1st, 2nd or 3rd person.

Viewpoint has to do with the attitude and belief of the writer

Colloquial Language is language that is written informally. It normally takes the form of speech.

Publication Date: January 5, 2018

Billy continues to offer his teacher intriguing excuses for not bringing in his homework, a class teacher tries to get the children to think about the little things they do that affect their achievement, a child draws from her mother’s legacy, and two friends carry on an ‘implicit’ conversation about focusing on their own dreams.

Michaellee James Releases New Book of Children’s Poems

‘Mine the Mirror’

LONDON- Driven to contribute to the materials available for the study of poetry in schools, author Michaellee James announces the release of ‘Mine the Mirror’ This children’s book encourages the use of poetry as a means of improving a range of literary skills and general achievements, while inspiring children to become expressive and effective writers.

With the content of everyday events that occur within the school community presented in each page, James believes both students and teachers will readily connect with the poems. In addition, the book comes with a range of questions at different levels and includes a glossary of selected literary devices to assist students with the study of poetry.

‘Mine the Mirror’ also teaches valuable life lessons such as self-responsibility, determination, empathy… appreciation of nature.

‘Mine the Mirror’
By Michaellee James
Softcover 82 pages ISBN9781546282785
E-book ISBN 9781546281429
Available at Amazon and Barnes & Noble

Michaellee James was born in the island of Trinidad and Tobago where she grew up and spent her early adulthood. She attended Valsayn Teachers’ College and subsequently taught at Eastern Girls Primary School, which is situated in the City of Port of Spain. In 1990, she migrated to England where she taught in some of London’s inner city schools; later served as a visiting university lecturer in the faculty of education. She has been involved in matters concerning education for the past thirty-two years. While residing in England, she became a member of the British Psychological Society. She was ‘Called to the Bar’ at the Honourable Society of Lincoln’s Inn and became a barrister at law in England and Wales. She is the published author of the books, ‘Trees Grow Over Fences’ and ‘I’M THINKING…’ She is also a speaker in matters of education and delivers talks at schools in England, Scotland and the Caribbean. During her many radio and television interviews, Michaellee is not reserved about openly declaring that she could not read at age fourteen. Coming from such a background, she is passionate about encouraging others to defy expectations by persevering against all odds.

Dawn has broken; nature declares a new day
Gentle warmth, upon my pillow, upon my bed
I feel thy rays but where is thy travelling light?
No reflection, no vision, only perpetual night!
What strange reality. The strangeness my plight!

Remind me, help me to recall earth’s painted gallery.
Take me on a journey that captures the pictures in my memory.
As my guiding staff, takes me through streets and the bustling city.

Play me a movie that features the faces that mean so much to me,
Remind me of the humming birds that flap their wings and fly away,
The hibiscus flower, tall trees that dance and sway.
Until the moon and stars announce the close of play.
Remind me! Remind me! ; don’t wither; don’t slumber but stay

But, patronising you need not be
I’m no visionless than he who has physical visibility’
He who sees nature and misses its beauty’
He who discard talents and ingenuity,
He, who squanders wealth repeatedly,

Don’t pity me, because my love’s face I cannot see
The sincerity of her heart is enough for me,
Spared from the deception of physical beauty

Don’t misinterpret my non-sighted reality,
Miscalculate my innate ability
Question if nature’s hands dealt fairly with me

For we both see our world; I pause to decree
Only I see through the opaque lenses in me
Not strange, for I know nothing of light
My life is measured only in hours and nights.

We are at a stage where parents to a large extent are being held accountable for their children’s behaviour at schools and the community. Sometimes blame is shifted to teachers. Many take the view that the guidelines and principles that children are exposed to at home influence their behaviours both at home and outside of their family setting. Some would say that irrespective of the great efforts of parents and guardians to raise men and women, who will positively impact society, in so many instances there are disappointments about the path their children have taken.
So where exactly are things going wrong- a question frequently asked- a question that has no clear-cut response – a question to which we must find some answers if we are to preserve the moral values that make us decent human beings.

I strongly believe that one of the biggest problems is lack of respect for those in authority. We must remember that children from a very young age exercise defiance; it is a trait that is inherent. Interestingly, one of the first words uttered by our toddlers is, ‘No’. Fair enough, sometimes we find this rather cute, we laugh and we often utter, ‘This child has a strong will’. However, while having a strong will is good, it is important that this strong will is not something we allow to override parental instructions and guidance.

It goes without saying, that the first line of authority the child encounters is that of the parents. Parents nurturing of moral values is a god given responsibility and must begin at home. If this line of authority gives in, or falls apart then it becomes so much more difficult to address problems resulting from defiance and disrespect in the home, let alone the school and wider society.

Let me give you a simple example. Waiting for my connecting flight in the departure lounge at Euston USA, the reasonably quiet atmosphere was interrupted by the echoing shouts of a mother, who was instructing a young child to stop running around the waiting area. The child seemed to be just about five to six years old. She simply paid no attention to her mother and within a short time; they both became the focus of attention. There was a very embarrassing show of defiance which the mother seemed unable to handle. The child only gave in, when she was offered a packet of crisps. This followed a bribery of hugs and kisses. Some might probably think that was just an insignificant example, but I chose to use this experience because it is the simple things we let slip that cumulate to have serious repercussions at a later stage.

But it is so important that one establishes rules and sets limits when bringing up children. They must also be clear of the consequences of overriding structure and breaking rules. Having done so, one must be careful not to compromise those rules to accommodate the mood of the child, for it is this same response they are likely to expect from their teachers, members of society and the legal system.

It is a well-established fact that each child is unique. Each child comes to us with innate talents, abilities… gifts, needed for them to succeed. Yet, we often pause to ponder the question, why so many children are deemed to be ‘failing’-a position normally taken on the basis of the outcomes of academic assessments and comparisons of children’s performances. But is the child really ‘failing’ or is it that there is an omission to take into account his or her individuality when it comes to the content and delivery of learning opportunities presented in the classroom.

Take reading for example. Many children are considered to be ‘failing’ because they are not able to read. However Margret Semrud- Clikeman, in her article, ‘Brain Functions and Learning’, explains that a child is ready to read when his/her auditory system is developed and they are mentally equipped to distinguish one sound from another. In order for the child to become a reader, they must receive instructions. If instructions are not given, the child’s reading is delayed.

As a matter of fact, I feel that it is even more appropriate to say that the child is progressing at his or her own pace.

Taking this into consideration, it is reasonable to take the view that when a child is unable to read, the child is not ‘failing’. The point is that, no one was born with reading strategies. Reading involves skills that need to be taught. If instructions for the teaching of these skills are not being imparted in a manner that endorses inclusion then one cannot make any such assertion of failure on the part of the child.

The individual educational needs of each child are paramount and undisputedly have implications for teaching and learning. A broad brush approach simply will not do. It is important to keep to the forefront of our minds, that in a classroom where the chronological ages of the children are the same, it is erroneous to assume that the children as a group should all be ready for the level of learning expectations articulated in the National Curriculum. Children, simply do not mature at the same rate.

Given this fact, when learning is delayed, one should be very cautious where there is an inclination to arrive at the assumption that the child has a learning disability. It just might be the case that what is needed are differentiated tasks at a level that challenge and present the opportunity for achievement on an individual scale. To do otherwise, is to perpetuate a label of ‘failure’ which for all intense and purposes is false.

The Caribbean Single Market Economy identifies university graduates as a group of persons eligible for free movement among CARICOM states. An educated workforce will be crucial to the development of the region in an era where a vibrant knowledge economy is the success indicator for countries worldwide.

Several factors prevent young people from entering tertiary education and this has implications for the educational level of the workforce and the migration of skills from one country to another.

In Jamaica, the most populous country in the Anglophone Caribbean, for example, gross enrolment rates decline as students move from pre-primary to tertiary level, with the sharpest decline being observed between secondary and tertiary.

Performance in the 2006 Caribbean Examinations Council (CXC) Caribbean Secondary Examination Certificate (CSEC), the terminal examination for secondary education and the basic requirement for pursuit of tertiary education, reveals that Jamaica’s students (35,428 sitting mathematics and 37,408 sitting English Language) underperformed in relation to the Caribbean average.

The regional averages of 35% in Mathematics and 51% in English Language point to Caribbean-wide underperformance at secondary level. These two subjects are major prerequisites for entry to almost all tertiary institutions. Failure to achieve success at this level thus denies students the opportunity to graduate from an institution of tertiary education. There is thus no access to the opportunities presented by the free movement of labour provision applicable to graduates.

The productivity of these students as workers in the labour force in their own countries, which must strive to be competitive with the rest of the world, will also be impaired.

In 1997, the Heads of Government of CARICOM set a target for tertiary level enrolment by the year 2005. This target required the doubling of tertiary level capacity and output in seven years – from 7 percent of school graduates at that time to 15 percent.

It was a clear mandate to existing tertiary level institutions to increase access and enrolment, and it presented an opening for other institutions to seize an opportunity to offer tertiary level education.

The opportunity has been seized by a number of local private and foreign based institutions operating within the region, independently or in collaboration with public local institutions. There has been an explosion of tertiary education programme offerings for Caribbean students over the past ten years. This growth has been fuelled by the new information and communication technologies, the increased demand for higher education, and the thrust towards the ‘commoditization’ of education.

The demand in the Caribbean for higher education exceeds the existing regional capacity to supply this education. The demand will only grow as the CSME becomes a reality particularly given the potential for social mobility and career advancement through the free movement of skilled and qualified people. Transnational education is seen as one solution to the problem of increasing demand for tertiary education faced by the countries of the Caribbean: it offers choices to students, and because the state is not involved, the students pay the full fee for their education.

The proponents of the CSME expect that higher education will generate graduates who are oriented towards providing the knowledge base for the development of the Caribbean region.

They will be graduates who understand and are prepared to offer solutions to the unique problems of the region, to address its special challenges, and to provide leadership in the region, even though the provision for the free movement of graduates allows for the involvement of graduates from recognised universities worldwide. Ongoing research pertaining to the CSME must be undertaken to assess its progress and achievements, and to consider its impact, including the impact on gender issues. Such research demands that Caribbean tertiary and higher education institutions serve as reliable resources for national and regional problem solving.