Category Archives: Classroom Management

Harnessing the Power of Digital Technology for Education in Ghana

Information Communication
Technology (ICT) can be a great
enabler of learning when used rightly.
For this to happen, both teachers and
students must be adept at handling
all kinds of gadgets and software.
Ghana has a lot of promise in the
digital education space, but a lot
remains to be done to bring our level
up to speed with global standards.
My post explores five ways through
which technology can be applied to
enhance learning in Ghana.
Use of Tech in Classroom
A skilled teacher can apply
technology in her classroom in many
ways. She can run her lessons using
PowerPoint or an open source
alternative. This automatically allows
for the integration of pictures, videos
and other multimedia. Use of
multimedia content increases the
attention of students as their senses
are fully engaged. The chalk or
marker board would still be used for
sketches, annotations and other
classroom activities. Of course
teachers in a typical Ghanaian school
may not have access to a projector
but it is possible in this age of
proliferation of mobile devices to
take initiative to get relevant images
and videos on a smartphone and
tablet that students can watch to
enhance their understanding. A
student may have the challenge of
understanding the chemical
principles behind the cleansing
action of a detergent, but would
easily pick up the concepts when
shown a YouTube video of the
process. I used this method to great
effect.
Content Creation
There is no gainsaying that access to
the Internet opens up a wealth of
information for the Ghanaian learner.
That said, it is often asked whether
the kind of content currently online is
relevant to our students and pupils. I
would say not always. Inability of
students to relate to the information
they come across on the Internet is a
barrier to their full understanding of
concepts. Also, there is almost zero
content available for certain subjects
like Ghanaian languages. Teams of
teachers and students can work
together to address the dearth in
local educational content problem.
This creates a collaborative learning
atmosphere that fosters development
of critical skills such as creativity,
teamwork, leadership and
communication.
App Development
The Ghanaian developer community
must play their part in improving
educational standards in the country.
Advancements in computing and
software development has resulted in
the abundance of many easily
accessible yet powerful open source
platforms, that can be used to create
educational web and mobile
applications relevant to Ghanaian
school children. Therefore,
technologists need to work with
teachers to digitize notes and test
questions, and repackage them into
stimulating content that students can
easily interact with and learn from.
Growth in the use of educational
technologies in Ghana would in the
long run profit software developers.
However, their involvement in the
sector should not be seen with
purely as a business opportunity but
as a social crusade as well. We need
to see more projects like Paasco
Africa spring up and make a
difference to learners.
Student Learning Activities
The effectiveness of ICT in education
is enhanced when use of relevant
tools is integrated into student
learning activities. Students can
explore topics such as Body Mass
Index (BMI) and graphs with
spreadsheet software, allowing them
to develop computing skills
alongside subject-specific
knowledge. Tasking students to
deliver assignments through
presentations and email enable them
to pick up key work-study-life
communication skills needed to
thrive in the 21st century. One may
think my point is basic, but a student
once scanned a handwritten
assignment and sent it to my inbox
when I asked them to submit a group
work electronically. While such a
behaviour is excusable at the pre-
tertiary level, the reaction would have
been totally different at an institution
of higher learning. My point is that
we need to create the platform for the
young ones to make all the mistakes
now, rather than later, when much is
at stake.
Creating a Web of Learning
Social media has become a reality of
our modern existence as a species.
Many students are distracted from
their studies when they spend
endless hours online connecting with
their friends on Twitter or Facebook.
But, this situation can be turned
around through well thought out
strategy. We can capitalise on the
students’ interest and engagement
on these platforms to serve them
with educational content. This ties in
with some of the points raised above.
Imagine the level of excitement and
the amount of learning students will
experience if they were working on a
YouTube video project for class
assignment. Further teachers can use
Facebook groups (such as Global
Lab Ghana, Google + hangouts and
Twitter hashtags to take class
discussions beyond the classroom.
This way students benefit from the
insights of their colleagues and other
experts from across the world. They
also get to analyse issues in a more
relaxed environment as compared to
the traditional Ghanaian classroom
setting. This hopefully will deepen
their understanding and engender
application.
Conclusion
We cannot hide our heads under the
sand like ostriches in the information
age. Ghanaian teachers need to
embrace digital tools for teaching
and content creation. App developers
need to pay more attention to the
needs of the educational sector and
students must be encouraged to
harness ICT to aid their learning. The
steps we take today, through policy
formulation and effective
implementation, will inform how well
our educational sector will work
some few years down the line.
This post is part of Blu’s LiveBlu
Forum, a social commentary on
work-life balance in Ghana. Join the
discussion at: http://
blughana.wordpress.com/ #LiveBlu #
BeLieveUme or sign up here to try
turbo-charged internet powered by
Blu.

How To Become A Good Teacher

Step 1:
Get ideas Get ideas on realistic goals and effective techniques from veteran teachers in whatever classes you ’ ve been assigned: English, Language Arts, Math , Music , Science , or History. Observe the teachers in their own classes to emulate provenstyles.

Step 2:
Introduce yourself Set the tone by looking professional and well- groomed . Junior high students are looking for role models and will watch everything you do . Introduce yourself briefly and let the kids share details aboutthemselves.
Keep your private life separate and don ’ t take calls at home . You need tohave time to recharge , too.

Step 3:
Arrange seating Arrange the room ’ s seating so that you can limit distractions from outside , direct attention to the board , and separate troublemakers.

Step 4:
Announce expectations Announce high expectations for behavior and grades and explain what this means in your class . Adjustments will have to be made on an individual basis , you will spend extra time with some kids to help them keepup.

Step 5:
Teach with games Use physical activities to engage the students , as kids often learn by doing.
Teach grammar through team contests to construct sentences on the board , or build symbolic essay parts with toy structures.
Keep the pacing brisk to holdtheir attention . Relieve the tension as the term runs its course.
It ’ s important to for them to have fun, to be allowed periodic breaks , and to know they matter . But becautious; don ’t let them confuse you for a peer.

Step 6:
Keep journals Insist that students keep journals and allow time at the beginning of class each day for them to write an entry , which has the added bonus of creating quiet in the room.
Write prompts on the board to invite responses that kick start theprocess.

Step 7:
Recognize achievement Create recognitions for student achievements at the end of each semester to reinforce what they have learned and to ensure their pride in the accomplishment . School should be a positiveexperience.

Nearly 15 million American middle school students were enrolled in 2009, and enjoyed a teacher to student ratio of 15 to two , better than twice as good as1999 ’ s 16 to one ratio.

CULLED FROM AN AMERICAN TEACHERS FORUM BY PREKESE MEDIA

University of Ghana Legon Sanctions 20 Students Over Disciplinary Offences

Myjoyonline.com>> The University of Ghana has sanctioned twenty students for various offences.

The offences which were committed between 2006 and 2010 include falsification of checks belonging to the Graduate Students Union , sale of university beds , assault and excessive noise making.

For their punishment, some of the students have been dismissed while others have had their academic privileges and certificates withdrawn for specified periods.

The action comes weeks after a group of students molested a suspected lady thief at the university . Speaking to Joy News, the registrar of the university , Maafo Budu said the two events are not linked in any way. “ The two are not linked at all. It is something that started a long time ago . The various processes were gone through. The sanctions were defined by the disciplinary committee …” he said.

He said those who have already graduated will have their transcripts held on for a period. Meanwhile the Legon Police is assuring the public that it will very soon catch up with the students who molested the suspected lady thief on campus.

The Legon crime officer, Emmanuel Basintale said the collaboration between the police and Legon authorities will bear fruits.

According to him , there are so many suspects but his outfit will want to narrow down to those who actually partook in the molestation. “ We haven ’ t given up. It is not easy investigating a case like this so we are appealing to the public to give us some time . We will definitely come up with something, ” he assured.
Source: Joy News/ Myjoyonline. com /Ghana

Citifmonline.com version>> Twenty students of the University of Ghana , Legon have been sanctioned by the University authorities for various offenses.

A statement released by the University ’ s Registrar, Joseph Budu , said some of the students have been dismissed while others are to be suspended.

The offenses, committed between 2006 and 2010 , includes ‘ ponding’ of students with water , excessive noise making , forging of cheques , assault and destruction of university properties . The University authorities say these offenses are against the regulations of the institution .

The Registrar, Mr . Budu told Citi News, the action by the university ’ s Disciplinary Committee shows how committed the University is to maintaining discipline among students.

He added that “ the sanctions included informing the public about it . Its been in arrears for a while and we just cleared some of the arrears . It just goes to show that we would sanction any student who breaches our laws ”

Mr . Budu indicated that thorough investigations are underway to punish students who took part in the manhandling of a suspected female thief at the Mensah Sarbah Hall.
Source: Citifmonline.com

How To Earn Respect From Students As A Teacher

Teachers Must Earn Respect
by Professor Joe Martin

Warning: If you are a new teacher , please do not sabotage your career by making the biggest mistake most teachers make when they first start teaching.

What mistake is that you ask ? It ’ s being a hypocrite. Ouch ! I know that’ s harsh , but allow me to explain.

One of the most common questions I get asked during my teacher training workshops is, “What can we do to get our students to be more respectful ?” In other words , many educators complain that many students talk back, misbehave, and “act out” with little regard for the teacher and /or his or her classmates . My first response to this question is, “What have you done to earn their respect ”?

The truth is…times have changed. Long gone are the days when a teacher ’ s presence alone demanded respect – from students as well as parents.

Today , in a society where good morals are on the decline , while self -centeredness is on the incline , we can ’t afford to educate students like our teachers once did “back in the day . ” We have to get respect the hard way; we have to earn it .

I think one of the best ways to earn a student ’ s respect in the classroom is by becoming the kind of person your students want to become. Put another way, if your students don ’ t want “to become” you ( i . e. , duplicate your success) , then you don ’ t need “to be” there . We ’re talking about integrity .

Whenever we promote success to students without first modeling it , then we ’ re seen as hypocrites in their eyes, even if they don ’ t admit it .

In addition , we lose credibility in the classroom. I personally believe that as teachers, others should want what we have. I ’ m not talking about material possessions , position, power, or perceived status ; I ’ m talking about good character.

Character is something money can ’ t buy but everyone admires and respects – even if they don ’ t like you personally. This is one of the most basic principles to successful teaching ; however, it ’ s one of the most difficult lessons for us to learn as teachers .

The truth of the matter is, whenever we ( as teachers) step into a classroom or in front of a group of students ( especially middle and high school students) , they ’ re are already “sizing us up” to see how they will treat and respond to us. If you don ’ t believe me, that only means you ’ ve never been a substitute teacher or you ’ ve never had one.

The # 1 question a student has in his or her mind when they first meet you is “Who are you ?” Trust me, you need to generate a response that’ s much greater than the sound of your name. Unless your last name is Winfrey, Gates , or Woods, you ’ re going to have to earn the respect of your students.

Who you are to them must speak louder than the actual words you use.

About the author
Joe Martin is an award-winning national speaker, author, professor, and educational consultant. His mission is to help students, teachers , and administrators learn , lead , and live with purpose and passion . To find out more visit his web site at http://www.NewTeacherUniversity.com .