How is Ghana adapting to teaching through technology?

Welcome to our weekly blog for Teacher Tapp Ghana!

Every Monday we summarise our most surprising and interesting survey findings from the week before. This weekly blog provides an easy way for you to learn about the experiences and opinions of teachers across Ghana.

Please encourage your colleagues to use the Teacher Tapp app to keep engaged with education even when they’re not teaching. Your responses are also a vital data source that GES will be using to help in their decision-making around best policies and approaches to managing the current crisis.

If you’d like to bring more teachers to Teacher Tapp, please share this blog with your colleagues and encourage them to use the download links at the bottom of the page. In the mean time, here are this week’s intriguing findings…

1. The Digital Learning experiment

Ghana is at the start of a remarkable experiment in education. The country is currently running education remotely through television stations and online learning platforms.

If successful in maintaining high standards of student learning, this could forever change how education in Ghana is structured.

What do teachers think about this?

When we surveyed you, only 1-in-3 teachers had watched the educational TV channel. However the channel is aimed at students so this does not necessarily suggest a lack of engagement with the medium.

Similarly, only 1-in-3 teachers we surveyed had visited the online platforms for SHS and JHS students to access school work. Only 4% of our users had contributed lessons and resources to these online platforms.

Combined together, these results suggest that teacher engagement with these platforms is currently quite low. Nonetheless, approval ratings for both are quite high.

Nearly 80% of you told us that you believe the remote schooling through a TV channel is an effective way to keep students engaged in their learning during school closures.

The positive response may be due to the lack of alternative options. If the options are educational television or nothing, then it is quite obvious which the more effective option is! But it could also be that teachers see the value in the rapid and well-organised response of GES to the issue of school closures.

We found similar results for the JHS and SHS online platforms, where nearly 70% of teachers believed that they are an effective way of keeping students engaged in their own education.

As discussed in previous blogs, keeping students engaged in their education so they are likely to return when schools re-open is vital. If the remote learning media are able to achieve this at least then this will be a big-win for Ghana’s educational system. And quite a successful experiment!

2 . Students are working a lot less than they should…

Even with the best remote learning platforms in place, it is ultimately still up to students how much work they complete.

A total of 60% of you told us that you believe your students are completing less than two hours of work per day. Of this, 35% believed students are completing less than an hour a day.

With the average school day in Ghana lasting about 7 hours, this means a massive reduction in the academic engagement of students. This is to be expected however and follows similar patterns in the UK.

One of the biggest concerns about this data is how it relates to educational inequality. It is likely that students who are from wealthier backgrounds are completing more work at home and can access remote learning with greater ease. In contrast, students from poorer backgrounds will have greater difficulty accessing online resources and will face other domestic challenges that reduce their ability to engage with work.

Of course these inequalities already exist in the educational system, but teachers and schools have more resources to eliminate them. With schools closed and teachers at home, there is a real threat that these inequalities between students will become much greater. This will be an important issue for the Ghana Education Service to address.

3 . Difficulty with sleep?

More than 1-in-3 of you have told us that you have been sleeping worse in the past three weeks than you would do usually.

Why might this be the case? For one, all teachers have had their usual routine disrupted and this will inevitably disrupt how teachers sleep.

A second issue is whether teachers are getting enough daylight. Daylight plays an important role in controlling your body’s ‘circadian rhythms’ which affect when and how easily you fall asleep.

And, thirdly, this is a stressful and worrying time for everyone! This means that it is more important than ever to try and practice careful sleep hygiene and other methods to help make sure you’re able to get enough rest.

4. Finally, we know you’re finding our daily readings useful, so here are all of the ones from last week…

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