Dr. Gertrude Shotte showed why she is an experienced educator for all levels during this year’s Calabash Festival Dr. George Irish Lecture entitled Ways of Knowing: Change, Culture and Character.
Presented via live stream and moderated by Nerissa Golden, Editor of Discover Montserrat, Dr. Shotte shared her view that there were other critical ways of acquiring knowledge beyond a traditional academic classroom.
“Traditional ways of knowing, in particularly those of a bookish western-world nature, have provided a straight-jacket type of knowledge that does not give sufficient scope for acceptance of any knowledge other than its own. Experientially, over the past three decades or so, because of my research activities, I was compelled to search for other practical ways of knowing, an exercise that has proven to be highly beneficial, hence the choice of topic for this lecture,” explained Dr. Shotte in her abstract on the subject.
“The research findings are as compelling as they are instructional. The paper does not sit within a particular methodological frame, but rather employs a combination of secondary research and unofficial primary research to support the discussion. It speaks to the various ways of knowing that allow people who align themselves to specific observances, including the Montserrat Calabash Festival, to find meanings and understand their interpretations in a glocalised environment. An ongoing analysis reveals that cultures are implanted in a multiplicity of diverse knowledges – from generational story-telling, indigenous epistemologies, digital literacy, institutional understandings, evolving pedagogies, right through to contested current worldviews. Headlines around the world repeatedly allude to the critical times that grip mankind. The conspicuous challenge that faces Montserrat, and of course its neighbours, is the handing down and transferring of a copious cultural heritage via an assortment of ways of knowing, to succeeding generations,” it continued.
During the 50-minute presentation, Dr. Shotte singled out ZJB Radio Montserrat and some of its programmes such as From the Pavilion, Brain Power, Drive Time, The Cultural Show and Talking Health as ways that knowledge is passed on. She also identified calypso songs as a critical tool for sharing stories about local, regional, and international issues.
The educator was a former principal at Kinsale Primary School and now Director of Studies (DoS) for Doctor of Professional (DProf) students in the Faculty of Professional and Social Sciences, Business School, Hendon Campus, Middlesex University, London.
Dr. Shotte also noted new works by Ann Marie Dewar and Mike and Sylvannie Jarvis as being important to the process of knowing. Both books tackle the subject of local language in different ways. Music by the Alliouagana Singers, Journalist Edwin Martin’s storytelling of older Montserratians, Claude Gerald’s poetry of other personalities and Myrle Roach’s Tamarind Seeds were called “rich sources of knowledge.”
Shotte is looking for the authors of Out of the Mouths of Babes to get in touch with her. The book is a compilation of poems from children coming of age during the height of the volcanic crisis.
Watch the Dr. George Irish Lecture featuring Dr. Gertrude Shotte below.