Re: Coaching is a great idea but….

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In response to Dr. Rowe’s blog below, while  I agree that coaching is a great idea, from whom are the teacher trainees supposed to learn? As we have seen in our work in Ghana and from experiences shared by other teachers across the continent and other parts of the world, the challenge comes from the fact that those who are assigned supervise teachers are frequently bankrupt with regard to effective pedagogy and classroom practice.

Over the past two years OLE Ghana tried to address this issue by developing several tiers of professional coaches. However we have found out that coaching is very expensive. It makes the Ghana Reads programme expensive and ‘tells’ on the coach who has to traverse the land moving into very hard to reach areas traveling difficult and sometimes impassable terrain.

As a solution to this challenge, OLE Ghana’s focus now is to create a Ghana Learns online portal for teachers. This will be an effective, very low cost, e-coaching programme where the coaches will not be physically in the room but their presence will be felt in ways that the person who is coached will become a more effective teacher. Such a programme will involve building a portal that teachers can access with the mobile devices that many of them already have.

The Ghana Learns portal should include:

  • Videos of best practices that teachers can watch over and over;
  • Downloadable short courses they can interact with and pass quizzes on
  • Project work they will carry out in their classrooms where the classrooms become live laboratories for improve learning practices;
  • A place on the portal for teachers to share their stories and document their outcomes;
  • Counseling rooms where teachers can connect with their coaches;
  • Peer chat rooms built around communities of particular teaching settings and practices  (urban and rural, one room schools, elementary schools, secondary schools, trade schools)
  • Reading rooms where teachers can access latest materials on best practices.
  • An eCoach video app that would enable teachers to bring their coach virtually into their classroom to observe and help the teacher and their students increase their teaching and learning skills.

These are some of the lessons learned and the critical needs identifed by the Ghana Reads program as important and scalable next steps for ensuring a quality basic education for every child in Ghana.

Kofi Essien,   Executive Director, OLE Ghana.