Monday, November 22, 2010

Teaching in a New Land-Ghana-6

We are here to teach. And that is exactly what we are doing. It’s very different than in the United States, of course, and the comparison will help build the world experience these young people will bring to their own classrooms.

The country has national teaching standards, and all schools in Ghana follow them. The tests are the same, no matter where you go, and the level of expectation is high. In private schools. Public schools are trying, but don’t seem to have the same level of support, both emotionally and financially.

We are teaching in private schools, both the village schools and the International high schools. The testing procedure is British, with the International schools subscribing to the Cambridge testing system. This experience is coming up for a couple of the student teachers, so we’ll see what they think of the process and product.

The youngest of our students are preschool and kindergarten. Learning through play, there are a lot of games, singing, exercise/movement, and some basic lessons in color, shape, numbers and weather thrown in. The teachers do not have to have any special training to care for/teach the little ones, very unlike the U.S. and its Early Childhood Education certification. The school day is not defined, either, with children arriving between 7:45 and 8:15, and beginning the departure routine after lunch. Parents and caregivers pick up the youngest of our charges, where the older students may arrive on foot, by bus, or actually live on the grounds. But it works for them.
The SOS school philosophy is to educate young people until they are self-sufficient, and able to hold a job and live on their own. “We believe in you and now will let you fly.”

Student teaching here is very different, with far less lead-teacher time than we allow in the U.S. And there are other teaching students in some of the classrooms, as well. Those who train to go into teaching may apply for the premium private school jobs, or have a guaranteed job within the country. The system places all teachers where they are “needed,” which may not be where you necessarily want to live. However…it’s a guaranteed job.
And so we teach. I will conduct a couple of after school workshops for teachers. The principals have approached me with topics, including classroom management, assessment, and methodologies. We’ll see how that goes.

1 comment:

S. Etole said...

This sounds like such a different experience. How long will you be there?