The President of Ghana, Nana Akufo-Addo, announced reopening of schools for final year students and the Ministry of Education released reopening plans to this effect. JHS 3 students are expected to use eleven weeks for academic work while SHS 3 and gold track SHS 2 students have six weeks for academic work. In this article, we will discuss some important things teachers must do to use the limited time judiciously to ensure safety as well as effective teaching and learning.
Implement social distancing and other safety protocols in the classroom
We are still in the COVID-19 era and in as much as the Government of Ghana is providing ease of restrictions in phases, this is no time to relent. Teachers must ensure that social distancing protocols are strictly adhered to. That is, students must be at least one metre apart in the classroom. The President indicated reduction in class sizes so that this can be achieved.
Also, face masks should be an important tool in the classroom. It is very important for every teacher and student to put on face masks at all times during and after lessons. The President indicated in his 10th televised update on COVID-19 that face masks would be provided for teachers and students when school reopens and that is a good thing. However, from experience, providing logistics nationwide is a very tricky thing. It takes like forever to provide logistics to all schools nationwide. With as low as GHC2, you can get a face mask. In a rare case, where the face masks cannot be obtained due to financial constraints or unavailability, improvisation with a handkerchief would provide enough protection to help mitigate the spread of the novel virus.
Proper hygienic measures must be adhered to
Hygiene is the key to mitigating the spread of the novel coronavirus. It is therefore paramout for the teacher to enforce hygienic protocols in and out of the classroom. Set aside a minute or two within instructional hours to instill in the learner important hygienic protocols. Most schools in Ghana had WASH materials before the advent of COVID-19. These hand washing kits should be placed preferably at the entrance of the classroom so they can be used before entering the classroom. You can check out our tutorials on making a simple improvised low cost hand washing kit.
Also, demonstrate proper hand washing techniques to the students. Talk about some common hand washing errors people do that may put them at risk of infection.
In addition to hand washing, an alcohol based hand rub is a necessary tool to ensure hygienic protocols.
Strike a balance between teaching of new topics and revision of topics already taught
Schools in Ghana were shutdown since March 16. Some students may forget previously treated topics, hence there is the need to combine teaching of new topics with revision of topics that have already been treated.
One way of achieving this is through solving of past questions and this interactive BECE practice software can help in this regard.
Sensitize the students for the bigger outer world
Schools were reopened for final year students to prepare for their examinations. Though majority of the instructional hours should be focused on preparing the learner for the final examination, it is very necessary to prepare the learner for the outer world.
Most students engage in small scale jobs while awaiting their results for further studies. Others may not further their studies at all and may learn a trade. Hence the learner needs to be prepared for the world of work as well.
While skills in the cognitive domain such as knowledge and intellect may help them get a job, affective skills such as values and attitudes may determine their promotion or demotion. The teacher should therefore use a minute or two of the instructional hours to instill in the learner important values and attitudes every manager wants in an emplyee. You may share your experiences as a worker or employee to enable the learner conceptualize the need for values and attitudes in the bigger outer world.
Doing this will develop the learners holistically in all domains, but not just learners who have been prepared for examination.
Teachers and learners should play a vital role in their own protection against the novel coronavirus irrespective of any external help from the government. Teachers should not only prepare the learners for examinations but also develop affective skills such as values and attitudes that are important qualities in the world of work.