The Ministry of Education and Ghana Education Service in collaboration with Right To Play have taken steps to improve the quality of education in basic schools to strengthen teaching and learning practices to improve literacy and numeracy outcomes.
The workshop further looked at attendance rates, and core skills for children in kindergarten and primary levels.
Core to these efforts are to integrate learning through play into teachers’ training frameworks and training materials from kindergarten to primary six, with strong supporting mechanism, from Education Directorate, district teachers support teams and school management committees as well as Parent-Teacher Associations.
Right To Play in Ghana, through the ‘Partners in Play project, supported by The Lego Foundation, has collaborated with the Education Directorates in the Greater Accra, Volta, and Northern Regions across seven districts (Savelugu, Tolon, Kumbungu, Keta. Ga South and Weija Gbawe) to train teachers at the basic school level to create a strong enabling environment for sustained learning through play pedagogies.
As part of the training, the teachers were taken through how to prepare learner plans integrating learning through play and other creative pedagogies into lesson delivery to motivate and arouse the interest of learners and improve learning outcomes.
The three-day training was held simultaneously across the seven districts.
The Partners in play project seeks to empower children to become creative, engaged, and dedicated to life-long learning as well as improve the quality of education for girls and boys aged six to 12 years through playful learning.
Mr Kwabena Gao, an Education Specialist at Right To Play, who oversaw the training for teachers in the Kumbungu District, said the training was to support the government to ensure that the standard-based curriculum, which was rolled out in 2019, was implemented effectively.
The standard-based curriculum talks about how to teach the child to read and write, the methodologies to follow to be able to teach the child and the child being able to get some core competencies to make him or her fit well in society.
Mr Gao said “So, what we are doing is to give teachers the skills to enhance their practices in the classroom. The package is to look at how teachers can plan and deliver their lessons using play.
Children, by their nature, like to play and as they play, they learn. But how can this play be incorporated into the teaching and learning process in the classroom? That is why we are having this programme.”
He said “we all know that teacher continuous professional development is key in ensuring that teachers are able to practice and practice effectively”, and encouraging teachers to keep practicing what they had been taught to improve learning.
He also appealed to the teachers “To use play in the classroom to make teaching and learning more practical, more fun, and more participatory so that the children do not see the classroom as an environment where the teacher just comes and pours the knowledge, but where teachers are giving the opportunity to learners to take the centre stage of the teaching and learning process.
As they try their hands on the activity, learning becomes more practical and they can even remember this in the absence of the teacher.”
Chief Tuunaa Salifu Sulemana, Training Officer for Kumbungu District Directorate of Education, said the training fitted well in the mandate of the Ghana Education Service, adding, “All that they are teaching is to help put the child at the centre of learning. That is putting activities in learning so that the child will be happy at the same time learning.”
Chief Sulemana said, “We want teachers, who are going through this training, to put activities in their lessons that will make the children active with the lessons so that they will be able to learn and learn better.”
He advised teachers, who took part in the training, “To apply the knowledge to relate well with the children, make them happy, make them feel at home and protected to ensure that teaching and learning go on well.”
Ms Ellen Agyeiwaa, a Teacher from Dalun Simli Model Primary School in the Kumbungu District shared her experience In teaching and using play, saying, “At my school, the children do not understand English Language.
I also do not understand their local language (Dagbanli). So, how to teach them was a challenge to me. But after participating in play-based learning organised by the directorate with technical and financial support from Right
To Play, I was introduced to how to use play-based activity for teaching children. Through the play, even though the children do not understand the English language very well, they can understand something.
Through the play-based activity, now my learners can read; they are coming up. I see this training to further improve my skills in lesson delivery.”
Mr Mumuni Abdul Hakim, a Teacher at Dalun Simli Model Primary School in the Kumbungu District also said “At first, teaching was boring and we also thought some of the learners could not get the concepts we presented to them.
But through play-based learning training, I got to understand that every child is capable of learning. Through the play-based learning, all the children are now exceptional.”
He said “through the support provided by Right To Play to Kumbungu district, my teachings have improved” adding “With this training, I can now prepare any lesson plan that I want to, and not only the planning but the delivery too.”