Saturday, April 27, 2013

It's about building capacity !

The contents of this website are mine personally and do not reflect any position of the U.S. government or the Peace Corps.

The Peace Corps Ghana is about building the capacity of the people to improve their own lives, not giving away stuff.  I have heard words like that often during my 23 months here.  Most of what I do, hear and see have been supportive of that approach.  Teaching mathematics and computer skills in a small village's Junior High School has on the whole been a satisfying experience in building personal skills.  Like many worthwhile but challenging jobs it will often go out to the extremes:   from sheer joy to being humbled.  

However, family and friends have been faithful to help me in my classroom, with "stuff."   I make sure the students know these are not gifts and are not from me, but from friends who want to see our class succeed. The pencils, erasers, pens, rulers, books and beautiful magazines are used as tools to motivate, encourage, and show the children that some one is interested in their success.  Most of these items are available in Ghana, but I ensure they know who took the time to collect and mail them, how long it took to get here,  and that my friends are interested in their education.
A personal Thank You note

Awarding a pen for using critical thinking skills in my math class has encouraged students to speak up and give it a try.  Note pads and pens for perfect attendance are eagerly anticipated when the new term begins.  Team competition is more intense when a prize is awarded.   The Headmaster presented each student with a new pen at the beginning of the end of term examinations to encourage students to do their best.  A folder with an appropriate level reading book and magazines (National Geo graphics and Smithsonian) were presented to each of the 9th graders who are preparing for a standardized examination to determine their qualification for Senior High School.  The exam is completely in English and the book and magazines are to encourage them to begin reading and improve their language skills. 

A chance to improve English skills
New blue pens on test day under the mango tree.

Thanks for helping me with some stuff.  You are helping to make a difference, the students are benefiting and it's all about building capacity. 

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