The National Teachers' Standards - How can you meet them?

Welcome to our National Teachers’ Standards Blog!

Here you can read more about how Teacher Tapp Ghana users can meet all of the National Teachers’ Standards. This blog has been written with the help of T-TEL, the organisation who supported the production of the Standards. So you can trust what you read on here!

By meeting and evidencing that you meet these standards, you can become an outstanding teacher as well as completing your portfolio for promotion through the Ghana Education Service or the National Teaching Council.

Any questions or comments? Please get in touch with baz@teachertapp.co.uk. You can also find the full National Teachers’ Standards guidelines here.

Otherwise, read on to learn more…

Introduction

The new National Teachers’ Standards in Ghana provide the highest possible standards all trainee and in-service teachers are expected to meet. We provide a brief overview of the Standards and the importance of meeting them. We then link to other articles where we offer guidance on how teachers can meet these standards. 

What are the National Teachers’ Standards?

All teachers want to be good at their job. But what does it mean to be a ‘good teacher’?

This can be a difficult question to answer. But, thanks to the work of the National Teaching Council (NTC) and their partners, we now know that in Ghana:

A good teacher is a teacher who meets and adheres to all of the National Teachers’ Standards.

What are the three main parts of the National Teachers’ Standards?

The National Teachers’ Standards are the first ever collectively agreed standards to guide teaching in Ghana and they were approved by the Government of Ghana in September 2017. All teachers completing their basic training in Ghana will be assessed against these standards, as will all current teachers seeking employment or promotion. 

The Standards have three basic parts: 

  1. Professional Values and Attitudes– the attitudes and behaviour teachers need to hold towards themselves, their students and wider society
  2. Professional Knowledge – a strong understanding of the principles of effective teaching practice, Ghanaian curriculum and educational policies as well as a commitment to understanding your students
  3. Professional Practice – the ability to design and implement effective lessons and assessments in a safe, well-managed learning environment 

Why are the National Teachers’ Standards important?

The National Teachers’ Standards are the new framework under which all trainee and in-service teachers will be assessed. 

This means that if you are an in-service teacher you will need to meet these Standards in order to be eligible for promotion or progression as a teacher. Trainee and Induction year teachers will need to meet the Standards in order to progress as well as to evidence understanding in order to gain your License. 

More importantly, the National Teachers’ Standards provide a clear picture of the qualities and skills of a good teacher. If you aspire to being a good teacher, which we’re sure you do, then you should aspire to meet these standards. This will help improve the Ghanaian education system for all young people. 

How can you use them in your practice? 

We’ll be writing a series to help you understand the best way to meet the Standards so you can achieve excellence as a teacher. 

Professional Development

  1. Critically and collectively reflect to improve teaching and learning

When you’re a busy teacher, it can be difficult to find time to pause and reflect on your own teaching. But reflection is an important way of understanding whether your practice is effective. So how can you make time for it?

We’ve come up with a few ways to be able to meet this National Teachers’ Standard and would like to share our tips here.

What is reflection?

There are three simple steps to reflection:

  1. Choose a lesson to reflect on
  2. Thinking back through the lesson, note what things went well and which things did not go well and need improving
  3. Use these notes to inform your future lesson planning and practice

When should you reflect?

Reflection is something you can do after any lesson you have taught. However, if you want it to be especially effective you should decide in advance a lesson you are going to reflect on afterwards. 

The lesson you pick could be a lesson when you are planning on doing something new and innovative and you want to understand afterwards if the lesson was a success. It could also be a lesson you have taught several times and you want to see how you can improve it. 

Reflection is especially effective if you are going to teach the same lesson more than once in a short period of time. You can reflect after the first lesson and make changes for the second lesson. You can then reflect after the second lesson to see if these changes made the differences you expected them to. 

How do I reflect on my teaching?

When you have decided a lesson you are going to reflect on you should pick two elements of the lesson you are going to reflect on from this list:

  1. Planning 
  2. Instruction
  3. Student behaviour 
  4. Assessment

Once you have picked two elements, you should look at these questions for each element and use them as a guide for what to pay attention to as you are teaching your lesson but also what you should reflect on afterwards. 

Planning

  • Did your lesson have a clear structure that students were able to follow?
  • Did you plan activities that were at the right level of difficulty for students?
  • Did students understand when they were moving from one activity onto another?
  • How many activities did students complete – is this what you wanted them to do?
  • What were the barriers to student learning in activities (for example, what were questions that students commonly asked)?

Instruction

  • Did you give instructions clearly to students so they knew what tasks they were completing?
  • Did you explain the lesson topic in a way that students understood? How do you know whether students did or did not understand?
  • Did you answer students’ questions in ways that they understood? How do you know?
  • Did students achieve what you wanted them to achieve in this lesson?

Student behaviour

  • Did you make your rules and expectations clear to students?
  • Did you use your school’s behaviour policy consistently?
  • Was student behaviour a barrier to learning? If so, why?
  • How did students feel during the lesson? How do you know how they felt?

Assessment

  • What did students spend the majority of the lesson thinking about?
  • How do you know your students learned anything in your lesson?
  • Did you ask the right students questions to check for understanding?
  • Will you be able to assess what students learned in this lesson in a future lesson?

How do I record my reflection?

After you have completed the lesson you are reflecting on, use the questions for your two elements to write down the following. 

  • What Went Well – Three things for each element that you think were successful, including an explanation as to how you know they were successful
  • Even Better If… – Three things for each element which you would live to improve on for next time

You can add this written exercise to your portfolio, but it is also useful to look at when you are planning future lessons so you can make improvements to your practice. 

Who should I reflect with?

It can be very useful to reflect with your colleagues. There are two main ways to do this – 

  1. Ask one of your colleagues to observe you teach a lesson. You can then get their feedback afterwards, discussing points with them and record your thoughts using the ‘What Went Well / Even Better If…’ format
  2. If you and your colleague teach the same lesson, you can individually reflect on how it went and then share your thoughts with each other. This can help both of you notice new things about your own lesson.

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