At the end of April two of our Ghana team, Rukayatu Adam, In-Service Training Manager and Lucy Ama Bermaa, Education Project Manager, participated on a study tour to the UK, coordinated and hosted by our volunteer Education Advisor, Sonya Hinton.
Four schools were visited over the course of two weeks. Ruki and Lucy were able to see four nursery classrooms, seven reception classes and six year one classrooms, also spending whole days with the class and teachers to fully understand how the days unfolded and the planning and preparation the teachers undertook.
At the end of each day there was time for reflections on what had been learnt and what could be adapted for the Ghanaian context to help improve our Transformational Teacher Training programme.
Some key adaptations that were noted to be implemented in Ghana include:
- More emphasis on the importance of advance preparation by teachers before school starts and after school to ensure that all resources are in place for teaching and learning.
- Parents can be encouraged to make small commitments, if they truly understand the benefit that it brings to their children’s development. Parents could help out at school by, spending time listening to children read; spending time supporting the teacher in any way they can, particularly when the teacher takes children out of school on a field visit; asking teachers how their children are doing and what support they could provide. Parents with a specific knowledge such as farming could support or come in to talk to the children about careers etc.
- The idea of instilling values in children and ensuring that teachers model behaviours that they expect from children, for example ‘responsibility’. These values must also be made explicit and reflected in everyday teaching and learning in the school and at home. More emphasis and recognition for children who exhibit these values.
Additional activities that could be replicated in Ghana include:
- Providing an opportunity for children to vote for the books the teacher reads to them each day.
- Using colour schemes for classroom management – for example one classroom had red and green cardboard shapes placed at different parts of the class to manage what they can and cannot chose from for their play or whether they could go outside etc.
- Selecting a pupil to become a VIP for the day to help encourage leadership among children.
- Allowing children to set weekly or termly goals.
- Ensuring classroom assistants are able to provide immediate support for children when they are struggling with an activity.
Reflecting on the experience Ruki said
“This study tour has undoubtedly opened our minds to a whole new world and we would highly recommend that this opportunity is given to other members of our team. The possibility of this experience changing the way we do things could be endless”