My fellow educators,
I am petitioning you all for some assistance. Basically, in my role as
a teacher support officer in Ghana, I am responsible for helping a
large number of schools, 80, and the 500 odd teachers who teach
(though not regularly, unfortunately) at these schools to begin a
culture of improvement. When I first got here, not many people had
heard of in-service training, and most weren't interested unless they
received a tidy per diem payment!
Well, we've gotten past that hurdle, and most people can see some
value in it. But this value has to be identified by the teacher
themselves, so I see my role as facilitating the teacher to find
something of value for their teaching. As such, I've been working with
a team of 10 teachers/officers to come up with an idea about how we
can satisfy these conditions, practice what we preach and try and
assist the large number of schools/teachers. We have come to the
conclusion that Lesson Study might be worth a try.
Lesson Study, a method originating from Japan, involves the teachers
working collaboratively to trial, observe and reflect on an innovative
lesson. Through a process of iteration and dialogue, teachers have the
opportunity to improve on the lesson, and can trial their improved
lesson with a different group of (preferably) live children. The focus
is really on observing and understanding student learning.
However, the only thinking that most teachers have put into their
lessons is usually which page in the textbook they are up to, and
given the level of confidence, support and training they have, I guess
this is perfectly understandable. While they probably have some ideas
left dormant from teacher training college, I would like to provide a
variety of simple, but high quality, lesson ideas for them to choose
from, which can become their research lesson. These lessons should
push them a little beyond their ordinary teaching boundaries and
challenge them to truly try and understand how what they do can affect
So, I was wondering if anyone has any lesson ideas, which fit this
very short description, in electronic format, if they could please
email them to me (firstname.lastname@example.org).
I can't really photocopy a lot, because I don't have
the resources, so it would be preferable if lesson plans were around 1
or 2 pages long. But, you can always send me anything you have and I
can modify it before printing. Also, I am looking through people's
web sites for good ideas, so (a) you don't need to send me things that
are on your web site, and (b) could you please send me any good web site
links that you think might be able to help out?
Additionally, if anyone has any old and unused, high quality teaching
resource books, they would surely come in handy. If you wouldn't mind
posting them, the teachers here would be very appreciative.
PO Box 14
Upper West Region
So, as you can see work is definitely full time at the moment (well,
full African time, you could probably say). It's been a good
experience here so far. I've made plenty of friends, had a few laughs
and learnt a lot. I've got one more year to go, so been here for a
year, but in many ways it still feels like I'm just starting. However,
I've got to the point where I am much more comfortable with the
culture and can handle myself in most situations.
We are going to be conducting the lesson study with the 20 clusters
for 3 weeks from the 8th to the 26th of November. My care and wishes go out to all of you.