Today was another amazing time for English Teachers at the American Corner Agbogba. The event was a teacher’s development workshop which focused on teaching teachers practical ways of teaching the English Language to their students.
The workshop was organized by the US Embassy Ghana in partnership with American Corner Agbogba and Mobile Web Ghana. The theme for the seminar was “Authentic Materials and Resources for the English Language Classroom.” The facilitator was Cynthia Robertson, an English Language Fellow.
In attendance were some officials from the US Embassy Ghana in the persons of Rita Awuku (Director of the American Center) and Andrew Ekuban (IRC Outreach and American Spaces Coordinator). Florence Toffa (Director of Mobile Web Ghana) was also present.
The teachers were from some junior high and senior high schools located in the Greater Accra Region from the: Madina La-Nkwantanang District, Adentan District and Ga East District. Some schools teachers represented were: Presec Staff, West Africa Senior High, Baba Yara Junior High, Danfa Methodist A&B, Accra College of Education, Fire Amour, among others.
Rita Awuku started the program by giving a welcome address. She also introduced the teachers to the American Corner and made it known to them that the Corner is ever ready to welcome the teachers to use its facilities. Afterwards, Cynthia started the program by explaining to the teachers the significance of inculcating materials and resources in teaching English Language. She added that this makes learning exciting for students thereby making comprehension easier. She went further to explain the avenues and tools teachers could use in teaching to help students in learning the language. These avenues she categorized as Springboard, Music, Poem/Spoken Word, Arts (drawing and painting) and script writing and scheming.
A series of videos that highlighted reading, singing, arts, poetry and sounds was shown to give teachers a practical understanding of how they could adopt some of the styles in teaching their students. Some poems that were shown were by popular Ghanaian poets, Nana Asaase, Chief Moomen and Elidior,a spoken word aritist and American poet Amanda Gorman. poem of a Ghanaian teenage girl called Ekua Mansah GH was also shown. She also made the teachers imitate actions in some of the videos they watched as a way of them also influencing their students to also do so.
The teachers were then divided into groups and given an activity to do. They were given sheets of a poem and song, one written by popular poet, Amanda Gorman with her poem ‘The Hill We Climb’ and the song written by Nina Simone with her song ‘Why (The King of Love is Dead). The other activity was a video they watched by a visual artist called BMike after which they answered some set of questions. The teachers developed their answers on the various activities based on their understanding. They interacted with each other and shared their views. Afterwards, Cynthia asked a rep from the various groups to share their answers. It was an interesting activity as the teachers appreciated the creative work put into the various activities.
Cynthia also transcribed a poem and read it to the teachers to observe her way of doing it too. She went on to explain that no answer was wrong since everyone used their creativity in the activity through reading and comprehension. She added that when they give such assignments to their students, they should be allowed to flow freely through their creativity in giving answers.
Cynthia also emphasised that engaging students in activities through materials and resources in teaching the English language will get students curious to know more and excited to learn. And this was a good way in their learning process.
In conclusion, the facilitator added that the teachers should build a community of self practice through English clubs in their various schools for students to have a continuous practice in their learning of the English language. Before the end of the program, some teachers gave positive feedback on how impactful the workshop was. They also requested for more of such programs to help them.
It was a very insightful workshop. Despite the rain this morning, these teachers still came. Their zeal to advance their teaching skills is admirable and we look forward to having another amazing session with English Teachers!