A packed workshop with 31 teachers from our Twinning Schools in Ghana received refresher training in teaching English through the use of phonics. The session was facilitated by the wonderful Barbara Nantogmah and two of her staff; Alhassan and Nana Ama from Naa Luro International Academy.
“If you want to start teaching English start with the sound for the letter ‘a’ it goes ‘ah’ almost like a small cough in the back of your throat. Now we can add the sound for the letter ‘t’ ‘tuh’. Make the sound in the roof of your mouth. If we add those letters together ‘ah, tuh’ we can hear the word ‘at’.” Barbara’s tuition starts with the very basics and highlights how local received pronunciation makes it more challenging to learn the correct sounds and therefore pronounce the words correctly. Training the teachers to make the sounds and discuss the differences between the languages is all part of the process.
Giving teachers the skills that they can use throughout the year helps achieve better learning outcomes for all the children. This workshop reminded teachers how using phonics can help children learn to read quickly and improve their pronunciation leading to better fluency in English. This workshop was requested by our teachers who all have slower learners in their classes, which average 60 pupils each. “We need techniques to help the slower learning children. We need to give them a chance to catch up.” said Mr Manan from Tiyumba School.
“They are all working so hard. I am very impressed.” said Barbara as the teachers ploughed through the basic sounds and basic words. They have all promised to put the lessons into practice in their classrooms over the next three weeks and then a second workshop will give them the chance to discuss any problems. This follow-up class will remind them of the more complex sounds and letter blends like ‘sh’ and ‘ck’ and all the exceptions which make English such a hard language to learn.
The workshop was only made possible through the kind donation of a family trust in memory of Jo Beecham, whose picture is included in the group photo.