Management of Komenda College of Education in consultation with Gate Institute, Ghana on Tuesday, September 14, 2021, organised a one-day staff development workshop for 67 participants comprising, 52 Teaching and 9 Non-Teaching staff of Komenda College of Education and 6 representatives from sister Colleges of Education in the CENTWEST Zone.
The workshop was organised to engage with like-minded professionals with a shared interest in generating innovative ideas for best practice in the teaching field, thus, ‘Strategies for Effective Teaching and Learning in the 21st Century’.
The workshop was officially opened with a hearty welcome address from the Principal, Very Rev. Kwesi Nkum Wilson (Ph.D.) to all participants, most especially to the representatives of the sister colleges from CenWest Zone. He added that the training programme would serve as a refresher to strengthen teaching strategies towards creating a pool of experts that continue to advocate and support effective teaching and learning.
Concluding his opening remarks, he distributed the book ‘‘Strategies for Effective Teaching and Learning’ authored by the facilitator, Anis Haffar. Finally, he wished all participants a successful interaction.
Given the importance of sharing experiences in such engagements, the workshop was mainly characterised by practical and participatory sessions with ten (10) groups under the guides of the resource person.
Anis Haffar at the outset reminded participants that “Our indigenous language represents the essence of our culture as Ghanaians and also serves as a fundamental catalyst for language acquisition, interaction, socialization and even reading and writing”. Upon this assertion was the call to ensure and expand literacy at the basic level by the use of the mother-tongue.
Referencing the work of some earlier educators like Maria Montessori, Eric Erikson, and Jean Piaget, the first group presented on Social Forces that Influence a Child’s Personality into Adulthood. In their presentation, they emphasised that for children to develop into psychologically healthy adults, there has to be a perfect balance between their nature and nurture make-up. Thus, in addition to their biological status, children must be guided by significant adults to build a healthy personality with a sense of trust, autonomy, initiative, and hygiene.
The mother tongue is indeed a natural medium of expression that matters, the second group advanced. This sought to stress the essential contribution of using the mother-tongue as the medium of instruction at the basic levels as advocated by the resource person from the beginning.
On Adding Value to a Child’s Point of View, participants were encouraged to be child-centered in guiding any learning situation while allowing their students to experiment and discover the learning experiences themselves. “Such basic and careful guides aid children to own and share their points of view”, the third group shared.
An individual may be liable to end up in the wrong place if he fails to plan. In the same breadth, a teacher needs to consciously set out clear instructional objectives with respect to selecting contents to be taught and instructional strategies to use, the appropriate materials as well as the behaviour the learner is expected to exhibit before teaching, else there will be impediments of efficient teaching and learning. This was shared by the fourth group on ‘The Need for Clear Instructional Objectives’.
One of the best strategies for effective teaching and learning is Effective Communication Between Teachers and Students. As put forward by the fifth group, a teacher may encourage accurate communication by using ‘The Paraphrase Rule’ to affirm a speaker’s message before the response. This builds on the skill of active listening and articulation in students for effective communication.
The sixth group shared their ideas on How to Dignify and Correct Wrong Answers. They held the view that it is wrong for a teacher to punish a student because of an incorrect answer, rather, the teacher can guide the student to fix the wrong answer by leading him step-by-step into the right one. They stated, “Such informed approaches are valuable to boosting the self-image of the student and the development of their cognition”.
“There’s always a need for a teacher to structure the classroom environment and learning situations to serve the unique need of each learner. The 21st Century teacher adopts differentiated instruction when teaching, provides remediation to the low achievers and accelerated activities for the exceptional leaner for the teaching-learning situation to benefit all learners”, the seventh group said.
Learners must be engaged with varying instructional strategies such as discussions, think-pair-share, demonstrations, research among other innovative approaches to maximize teaching and learning. This was shared by the 8th group.
On the 9th presentation, participants were reminded of the essence of assigning specific time frames to each task from start to finish to Maximise Time for Quality Instruction and Tasks.
An Amusing Perspective on Supporting and Appreciating the Leaner’s Difference was the final presentation. As the topic suggests, learners are to be helped to lead tasks and create ideas by thinking old things anew. To them, giving learners some freedom to express their full selves to an overwhelming extent build their intellectual development.
In conclusion, the resource person, Anis Haffar, advised that our sacred responsibility as teachers at any level is to Avoid Being the Sage on the Stage. Rather, he advocated that we should be a Guide on the Side.
Representatives of the sister Colleges remained thankful to the Management of Komenda College for the opportunity to participate in such a refreshing workshop. The Principal was grateful to all participants for their audience and participation.
Report by: Ms. Constance Afriyie (College Secretary) and Ms. Genevieve Esinam Akuamoah (Assistant College Secretary)