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Learning New Strategies in Teaching Mathematics and Science

The Centre for School and Community Science and Technology Studies (SACOST) under the Institute for Educational Research and Innovation Studies (IERIS) organised a two day workshop for Math and Science teachers of the Effutu Municipality.

Math and Science are two most important subjects in this era. Any country’s survival is dependent on these two areas. However, pupils/students find these areas very difficult to understand which leads to poor performances of pupils/students.

SACOST under IERIS therefore seeks to spearhead a new paradigm that will forge a synergy between indigenous knowledge, school science and mathematics in pre-tertiary schools in Ghana. The programme forms part of the innovative activities by the Institute to improve teaching and learning of Science and Mathematics in the schools to generate the needed interest among pupils/students.

Mr. Victor Darbah, the Ag. Head of SACOST noted that Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) are the key pillars required for the development of every nation in this era but yet students perform poorly in them. He suggested that the abysmal failure of pupils in these examinations could be due to the approach used in teaching and learning of Science and Mathematics at the basic school level. He indicated that most of the approaches used in the teaching and learning of these subjects were inherited from the country’s colonial masters. This therefore makes it difficult for students to understand these subjects.

Madam Rose Tenkorang in a brief address, told participants that the workshop was to equip teachers with the needed skills and variety of methods in teaching the “difficult” subjects, Science and Mathematics so that students would enjoy, but not drop them at the least opportunity.

Consultant of IERIS, Prof. Jophus Anamuah-Mensah noted that contextualization of science and technology lessons is the way to go in making the teaching and learning of science and mathematics meaningful and interesting to students. He stressed that if teachers put their ‘shoulders to the wheel’ on the new concept in Ghana, the desired goal of making science and mathematics lessons friendly and practical to students could be achieved. He finally encouraged the participants not to leave the lessons learnt at the Workshop but to carry them to their various classrooms.

Mr. Emmanuel Kutorglo, Proprietor for Mother’s Unique Love School and Senior Assistant Registrar, UEW made the first presentation on Contextualizing the teaching and learning of science and technology. In his presentation he indicated that contextualizing learning is based on constructionist theory of teaching and learning which suggests that Learning takes place when teachers are able to present information in a way that allows students construct meaning based on their experiences. He further indicated that knowledge that is taught in a variety of context is more likely to support flexible transfer than knowledge that is taught in a single context.

The second presentation on Connecting the Mathematics Classroom to the World Outside was done by Ahmed Kobina Amihere from the Department of Basic Education, Winneba. He noted that children learn both inside and outside the classroom and pointed out that it is the primary responsibility of the mathematics teacher to connect these two realms of knowledge and use those connections to augment the understanding of both worlds. He explained that learning is an active process that allows students the opportunity to construct understanding through empirical investigation and group interaction. Mr. Amihere noted that if new knowledge was connected to what learners already knew the acquisition of the new knowledge would be enhanced. He again stressed that opportunity to learn is enhanced by linking student learning to their social and cultural identity, which assists them to better understand the subjects being taught.

As part of the activities, two main groups namely the science and mathematics groups were formed. The Science groups went to observe artisanal fishing at the beach near the Police Depot, visited a blacksmith shop on the Victoria road and the Winneba Water Treatment Plant, went to Gomoa Adawukwa near the Okyereko Bridge to observe production of local gin, “Akpeteshie” and visited Adawukwa Bricks and Tiles near Okyereko Bridge.  Additionally, all the four mathematics groups went to the Winneba market and its surroundings.