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Riis Presby Model Basic A

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Riis Presby Model Basic A
Riis Presby Model Basic ‘A’ is one of the leading schools in the New Juaben South Municipality of the Eastern Region of Ghana. However, it is situated at Betom, a developing community which hosts the most indigenous people of the region. Our learners range from 3-5 years old at the Preschool level, and then 6-15 years old at the basic level. It is a state owned school. Until our recent contact with the Skills Builders team, just a few of the teachers may have heard of the skills independently. Nothing (generally) had been done in the school with regards to the skills.
Overall impact
The overall impact of the programme has been GREAT! It has been one of the most successful programmes that we’ve implemented in the school. Our teachers have become increasingly exceptional in their delivery since they have become more conscious of the skills they have to develop alongside the regular curriculum that is taught every day. Students have become more conscientious, tolerant, open and confident. You clearly see from their ‘every day’ actions that they are very much aware of the skills and are responding positively to them.
Keep it simple
To begin with, all teachers met and discussed the essential skills in detail during our Professional Learning Community sessions. It was agreed that the skills were very integral to the academic and social growth of the students as the name implied and that every teacher at every level would have to take into consideration one or more of the skills during the preparatory stages of their respective lessons. Posters of the skills were posted in the classrooms to draw students’ attention to the skills and finally both teachers and students made conscious efforts to use the common language of the essential skills during assembly times, staff meetings and other school events to help create more awareness.
Start early, keep going
The age range for our students who took part in the programme was 3-15 years old (i.e. Pre-School to Year 9). During the planning stages of lessons, teachers, taking into consideration the skill levels of their students, made conscious efforts to create a room where students would express themselves, where students would listen, where students would be put into groups to work, and where students would be allowed to create their own scenarios or stories and much more during lessons.
Measure it
Teachers used the steps from the Framework for each skill to assess the students. The assessments were usually done on a year group basis. On a few occasions, teachers assessed students during student meetings, extra-curricular activities and assemblies where students played the role of leaders and their colleagues were the audience. Generally, the idea of embedding the essential skills made planning and teaching more student-centred and the feedback from the assessment gave teachers a broader view of the strengths and weaknesses for review and restructuring.
Focus tightly
It was quite easy to differentiate skill teaching for different students because our approach was to allow teachers to expose their students to the skills at their respective step levels. Teachers made time to explain the skills to their students, using the language they understood best at the various levels. Because assessments were done at class or year group levels, it also allowed teachers to follow closely to see improvements (or not) of their learners.
Keep practising
As mentioned earlier on, teachers took into consideration the skills during the planning stages of lesson preparation so this allowed teachers to frame their questions, assignments and project works in a way that would afford students the opportunity to practise what they were being exposed to (i.e. the essential skills). Extra-curricular activities were also organised and tailored purposely to bring together all the year groups and allow them to exhibit the skills. As a plus, these strategies also afforded teachers the opportunity to assess and review.
Bring it to life
Fortunately for us, our school serves the high, middle and low classes of the region due to its academic records and geographical location. What this means is that we have some of our students who are able to go to the offices and residential areas where their parents work or live. We also have some of our students who go to the markets and commercial areas where their parents work. Finally, we also have some of our students who go back to our host community which has a high percentage of the region’s locals. Teachers discuss with the students which skills they are going to apply through their community experiences. The students, having understood the concept of the skills and the need for everyone to at least have an idea about the skills, act as the intermediaries between the school and the community. They have been tasked to project the school using the skills and so far the school administration and teachers are receiving good feedback.
What's next
Long term monitoring and evaluation of the programme. Skills development has really come to stay and would be incorporated into the internal policies of the school.