Checks conducted by the News Desk of the Colleges of Education Weekly Journal indicate that in the week ending 3rd April, 2020, about 3,800 B.Ed. student teachers in 16 Colleges of Education participated in a total of 100 online lessons organized using Google Classroom, Telegram and WhatsApp through the assistance of T-TEL, NCTE and all the 5 public universities that the 46 Colleges of Education are affiliated to. The number of student teachers participating in the online lessons will considerably go higher in the coming weeks as more Colleges make the transition to the online learning platforms.
All the 5 public universities that the 46 Colleges of Education are affiliated to have made excellent progress in establishing virtual learning platforms and some have already completed the registration of most trainee teachers. The registration process is expected to continue this week.
Our News Desk can also confirm that T-TEL has negotiated an agreement with the Amsterdam University of Applied Sciences to offer an online Certificate course on Design, Teaching and Learning for tutors. This is available at the cost of €20 per head as opposed to the normal cost of €250. This course will build tutor capacity to move their lessons delivery to the virtual learning environment. The course consists of eight 3-hour autonomous modules to prepare tutors on the essential elements of online teaching. This offer was circulated to all Principals and a meeting is being held with PRINCOF this week to finalize the numbers. Colleges of Education are expected to use their Transition Support Fund (TSF) to pay for this training which T-TEL will purchase in bulk on their behalf. To date, 366 tutors from 7 Eastern Greater Accra (EGA) zonal Colleges of Education have registered and details of all other Colleges will be collated this week.
The T-TEL Zonal team supported the University of Ghana to carry out a pilot on the use of Telegram for teaching at Accra College of Education. 5 classes were set up for Accra College to cover 3 Math lessons, 1 English Language lesson and 1 Social Studies lesson. The 3 Math lessons were taken by 280 Level 100s. 93 Level 200 students partook in the Social Studies lesson and another 189 Level 200s participated in the English Language class. Tutors who taught the course used both asynchronous and synchronous approaches. It was observed that at any given time, half the number of students who joined the platform were present for the synchronous sessions and a third of the number stayed on the platform to engage themselves in discussing assignments and tasks left with them by the tutors.
On evaluation and monitoring, a weekly report is prepared for each College of Education which is then submitted to NCTE detailing the number of classes taken, number of student teachers participating and any challenges and issues arising. This will enable the 5 Universities, NCTE and T-TEL to rapidly identify those Colleges of Education which are facing difficulties and where take-up is low so that T-TEL can work with them to address any problems. While the lessons were ongoing online it is straightforward for the universities and T-TEL advisers to log on and conduct the virtual lesson observation to provide feedback and advice. NCTE and T-TEL are also hoping to hear from TTAG about any specific challenges and issues which they can try to address bearing in mind resources are currently quite limited.
T-TEL has reoriented existing technical and financial assistance so that they work with NCTE, the 5 Universities and the 46 Colleges of Education to ensure that as many student teachers as possible are able to benefit from the effective virtual learning. Currently T-TEL is undertaking the following:
- Creating a B.Ed. microsite for student teachers on the T-TEL website www.t-tel.org containing all B.Ed. course materials for Year 1 and Year 2 courses with a separate area for student teachers and tutors. They are working with the 5 Universities to ensure that as many materials as possible are available on this site which is also linked to each university’s virtual learning system. This microsite will go live on 17th April.
- Working with each of the 5 Universities to extend their virtual learning environment so that student teachers in their affiliated Colleges of Education are able to participate fully in online classes.
- Working with the 5 Universities to provide individual support to each of the 46 Colleges of Education to enable them to continue to deliver lessons using Google Classroom, Telegram and WhatsApp during the period when universities are extending and preparing these virtual learning systems. T-TEL’s Gender Equality and Social Inclusion (GESI) team is also working closely with zonal teams, universities and Colleges of Education to ensure that the needs of all learners are taken into account through these virtual learning efforts so that they can support NCTE to introduce measures so that the most vulnerable do not suffer disproportionately due to lost learning time and are able to re-engage once the suspension on educational institutions is lifted.
- Supporting tutors to adapt their lessons and teaching so that they take account of the specific demands of online learning. This includes enrolling tutors on university-led courses and regular virtual lesson observation.
Source: News Desk, Colleges of Education Weekly Journal