NGO backs call to end rote method of teaching

The Sabre Charitable Trust, a not-for-profit organisation, has backed a call by the Deputy Minister for Gender and Children, for an end to the rote method of teaching in schools.

The organisation says quality teaching during the early years a child’s education lays the foundation for a well-equipped and critical-thinking population.

“We support Madame Gifty Twum-Ampofo’s statements to focus on a more participatory approach to learning,” said Dominic Bond, Managing Director of the Sabre Charitable Trust.

In a recent speech delivered in KEEA Municipality, the Deputy Minister for Gender, Children and Social Protection emphasised the importance of building literacy skills in early years to enable access to the wider curriculum.

 In her speech, she called specifically for an end to the use of rote teaching methods when it comes to the alphabet and reading and for the introduction of phonics, a stance with which The Sabre Charitable Trust wholeheartedly agrees. 

Sabre Charitable Trust has revealed that it is working with Ghana Education Service (GES) and colleges of education to scale up the quality of kindergarten education.

The Sabre Charitable Trust has revealed further that it has been implementing the Fast-track Transformational Teacher Training (FTTT) aspect of the GES Operational Plan for kindergarten since 2012, for both existing GES teachers and student teachers at Our Lady of Apostles (OLA) College of Education in Cape Coast and Holy Child College of Education, Takoradi.

The programme aims to build a network of Model Practice Classrooms across Ghana and provides teachers with the skills for placing children at the heart of their own learning, ensuring their minds are constantly stimulated and their learning is holistic.

This means leaving teacher-centred, rote-learning methods behind and embracing child-centred pedagogy without canes in our classrooms.

“As far as FTTT is concerned, gone are the days when you could walk into a kindergarten classroom and see children sitting in rows facing the chalk-board and reciting their alphabet or chanting basic arithmetic while the teacher waves a cane” said Mr. Bond.  

Rather, “FTTT trained teachers deliver the whole Ghanaian national kindergarten curriculum in a way that enables children not just to learn what they are taught, but to learn how to understand and evaluate the world around them; to be active participants in their own education, learning to take initiative and to question their environment.”“By learning through play, children are motivated to come to school, be engaged in lessons and build positive relationships with their peers and teachers”, said Mr Bond adds.

As well as ensuring the physical, social and emotional development of the children through quality early years’ education, FTTT is, of course, concerned with their academic progression. 

Despite it being well-evidenced that the ability to read and write with comprehension is integral to continued success in all aspects of education and later life, only 2% of Ghanaian children in primary 2 were able to pass the 2013 Early Grade Reading Assessment (EGRA). 

To combat this shocking indictment of the current system, FTTT classrooms run a comprehensive daily phonics programme right from KG1. 

By the time pupils graduate into lower primary, this ensures they are equipped with the ability to recognise letters and the sounds they make in words, opening up a world of opportunities to access and understand written text.

The Sabre Charitable Trust strives to improve the conditions in and of the early childhood education system.  By working in close alliance with GES and the colleges of education, they are making significant impacts on the lives of children through better-trained teachers delivering higher quality education.  

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