In March 2016 Pabo student and EFKF volunteer Renee Lammers went to Ghana to do here international traineeship for 3 months. We reported her weekly here .
After returning she wrote some reflections:
I knew I wanted to go to a foreign country for an internship when I started my education. I read a lot of stories and I saw a lot of pictures from people who went to Africa to teach and it really inspired me. I also thought that the experience of going to a developing country is good for everyone.
In March I left the Netherlands to go to Ghana for three months. It was an amazing adventure. I taught English at three different primary schools and I did a research about the effects of integrating the creative subjects in my English lessons. I thought these subjects are really important when you have to communicate in a foreign language and in a different country. The English lessons were based on speaking, listening, reading and writing.
In the beginning it was hard for me to understand Ghanaian people and for them to understand me, because our pronunciation is really different. Especially the communication with the lower primary was difficult and most of the children in kindergarten could not speak English. The children really liked to sing and dance. This improved the interaction, communication and atmosphere in every class and I did not need materials for it. Because there is a lack of materials on most of the schools in Ghana I learned to be as creative as possible. I got a lot of enthusiasm and smiles from the children back.
Besides teaching English, I wanted to learn more about the culture and the school system in Ghana. In the beginning there were so much impressions. The country, the culture, the people, everything is so different. Most of the people in Ghana are really friendly and helpful. There are not many people with a white skin and blond hair in the village where I lived, so the first days on a school were a little bit uncomfortable because the children did not really know how to react on me.
The behaviour of the children is really good. When I walked into a classroom on my first day, all the children stood up and said: “Welcome Madam”. I did not expect that. Every morning the children who passed by greeted me and during my lessons the children listened well and they answered my questions. On the other side the teachers punished the children in a way I would rather not see and hear. But I know I cannot change it because it is a part of their culture.
In the Netherlands, one of the most important things to do as a teacher is to get to know the children very good. We learn the importance of good interaction and contact with our pupils. Many teachers in Ghana do not even know all the names of the children in their class and because of the punishment there is a bad atmosphere in most of the classrooms. During my English lessons I tried to be as enthusiastic and positive as possible, because the children deserved it.
In the Netherlands it is normal to go to school and get good education, but in Ghana it is not obvious for the children to have the possibility to go to school and to develop themselves. Teaching in Africa is not without challenges, but you can learn a great deal about the country, the culture and the local students and teachers, all while witnessing your own personal and professional development. I can recommend an adventure like this to everyone!