An in-service training workshop for core subject teachers of second cycle institutions ended in Kumasi last December. The programme which forms part of the development of Senior High Schools project under the auspices of the Ghana Education Service, The Ministry of Education and with funding from the African Development Bank is the first of its kind at the national level. It aimed at upgrading and sharpening the skills of SHS core subject teachers and also reducing the failure rates in these subjects in the West Africa Senior Schools Examination (WASSCE). The 20 week long workshop ended officially on Friday December 18, last year.
Speaking to the TIMELINE in an interview, chairman of the training sessions and the social studies facilitator Mr. Alfred Okyere-Darko, said the workshop was initially targeted at training 10,000 SHS core subject teachers. However only 4,200 teachers have been trained by the end of the workshop due to what he described as 'unconducive factors'. He said all public second cycle institutions across the country were being represented at the workshop.
Resource persons were drawn from the University of Cape coast and the University of Education, Winneba to train facilitators for the first week who in turn handled the training of the participants for the 20 weeks.
Mr. Okyere - Darko who is also the assistant headmaster in charge of administration at Prempeh College, noted that the in-service training became necessary upon observation that most teachers 'lecture' the students instead of teaching them and some unintentionally do not apply the teaching skills they acquired in the university. “Teaching at this level should be child centered and more activity based to build a good foundation for the child” he said.
In addition, the training is also in line with government policy and the new educational reform where students who do not pass the core subjects cannot get admission into tertiary institutions even though they might have passed their elective courses well.
He urged the participants to go back and train their fellow teachers could not get the opportunity to attend the workshop and also apply the skills they have acquired in their teachings.
Mr. Okyere-Darko who was full of praises for the stakeholders said “This workshop is timely, and an eye opener. It has really sharpened the skills of the teachers”.
“I believe building a better Ghana is not only developing infrastructure for the schools but also calls for the development of teachers” he added.
Some of the participants commended the organizers of the programme and suggested it should be organized annually at the regional, district and zonal levels. This Mr. Okyere Darko said will be presented to the ministry of education and the GES for consideration.
VIEWS FROM SOME PARTICIPANTS
Mr. Mohammed Saani Ahassan
English Teacher, Tamale Business Senior High School
As far as teaching and learning is concerned the workshop has been very helpful. Organisation is good, the environment is cordial and the accommodation is conducive. However, I think the schedule are very tight and doesn't give us any spare time to do other things in town. I fact I have been equipped a lot and reminded of so many things I normally consider as unimportant. We learnt these things in school but applying them became redundant. So as I've been refreshed now I am going to implement it and reintroduce some of the skills I have abandoned. As for my students, they should expect quality and improved way of teaching from me.
Mr. Mr. Felix N. Badu
English Teacher, Adanwomase SHS, Suame-Kumasi
I think it has been a healthy course and it serves as a refresher for us teachers to improve on our teaching skills. Views and opinions were shared and we learned new things to go and introduce in our various schools. On a whole, it has been successful. We would like to see more of these at least once a year so that beneficiaries can also go and impact not only in their students but other colleague teachers who could not benefit. My students should expect a change in my way of teaching which I think will reflect in their performance. As for the organizers, they are fantastic. The delivery of the facilitators is good and I will encourage them to go the extra mile the next time such a workshop is organized.
Mr. Pepra-Manu Samuel
Social Studies Teacher, Yeji SHS, Pru District, Brong Ahafo
The workshop is highly commendable and helpful. I've realized that what we learn in the university is different from the way we are supposed to teach it in class. Social studies is a problem solving course and I would like to go and implement what I've learnt here in my school though I might not be able to do it as my facilitators. I haven't had any challenge so far. My students should expect a different style of teaching and learning. At first the approach was teacher centered; now it is going to be more student centered. I think if more of these workshops are organized for us, it will go a long way to help improve education in Ghana.
Mrs. Martha Owusu-Agyeman
Social Studies teacher, Kumasi Technical Institute
I think this workshop is long overdue. If it is organized regularly, it will help us teachers who are handling core subjects to sharpen our teaching skills to give off our best. I have also learnt some websites that I can go to for information in various topics to help me in my teaching. For me it has been very helpful. Personally, I have not encountered any challenge. As for my students, they should expect an improvement of delivery and improved techniques because I've really sharpened my delivery skills. I've got more to give them, in fact teaching and learning will be more lively and interesting and they'll understand the subject better. To the organizers, I say 'Ayeekoo' but there is always room for improvement in every human institution.
Mr. Prince Nana Kusi
Mathematics Teacher, Sunyani SHS
It has been a nice workshop. There have been some new concepts in Maths and this workshop has taken care of them. We have been given more insight as to how to teach topics like trigonometry, circles and social arithmetic. We have also been taken through math games which I think when we introduce will increase the students' interest in learning math. I recommend that such programmes should as well be organized for elective subject teachers. It is not a bad idea if it is organized annually. When I go back, teaching and learning of math will not be the same. My students should prepare for a more interesting and a more engaging math class. Their performances will improve considerably. I am very grateful to the organizers and all stakeholders for this wonderful in- service training. The facilitators have done their best and I think that is highly commendable.
Miss Tina Akosua Agyepong
Maths Teacher: Nyinahin Catholic SHS, Ashanti Region
Generally, it has been very educative and I think that it should be very frequent especially for us math teachers. Students have a perception that math is difficult and I personally think that this perception is based on how some topics are handled. Most of such topics have been discussed here and we have come out with more simple ways of teaching such topics. In a way, it has really equipped us because we shared our views and learnt from ourselves apart from what the facilitators taught us. Maths is a male dominated subject but I always tell my students that it is the easiest subject to pass if only they are disciplined and they learn the concepts. My students should be rest assured that their math class is now going to be more lively and interesting. I wish to commend the organizers for this opportunity and I also to suggest that next time, such training should be held when we are on vacation so that it doesn't affect our school calendar. I also think similar training should be organized for the maths teachers at the basic school since in math basic concepts are formed at the basic level and are built upon in the secondary schools.