In March 2017 Pabo students Laura Jespers and Thom Brekoo went to Ghana to do their international traineeship for 3 months. We report their weekly here .
Volunteers Emmy Brakkee and Romy van Schendel are travelling to Ghana end of January for a 3 months traineeship at a new school in Mepe- Degorme. EFKF is supporting them with books and advice. More info will be available soon.
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!
March 2015 > Interns to Ghana
Amber and Myrthe have travelled to Ghana for their internship. During the three months of teaching at Marantha Primary School in the South of the country they kept us updated with their adventures. On forehand they said “We expect it to be a life lesson for us and we hope we can help make the lifes of those children a little better as well”.
After their return in the Netherlands they summarised their wonderfull experiences.
September 2014 > Marloes has returned and is very positive about our materials!
You can read her report (in Dutch) here.
March 2013 > New Trainees in Ghana use Cool! English at School
Three new trainees have started in the Ghana project in February 2013, using the Cool! English at School portfolios and flash cards. Two weeks before departure they collected the materials at our office in Roosendaal, where they were given instructions on how best to use Cool!.
Follow them on: hanneke1994.waarbenjij.nu
EFKF in Ghana – June 2012
They both didn’t have any specific plans about going abroad for their internship, but they ended up in Ghana. Daisy van Mook and Karlijn Overbeek, now both 19 years old, have just returned from an exciting trip to Ghana, were they have been teaching English to kids of practically all ages. How cool is that?!
“Actually, I just attended the informative meeting at school, because I was curious. I wasn’t even sure if I wanted to go abroad for my second-year internship”, tells Karlijn. All the other students attending the meeting had wild ideas and were planning to go as far away as possible. Karlijn herself got really excited about the project named ‘Ghanagangers’ and afterwards told Daisy about it. In the end, most of their classmates stayed in the Netherlands, while Karlijn and Daisy went all the way to Ghana.
Their school, a VET institution, Vitalis College in Breda, has several years’ experience with sending students to Ghana for their work placement. Vitalis College has been working with a primary school in Ada, run by mr Seth. He takes care of the students. The students also have a so-called watchman, to keep an eye on them, and to make sure no one hurts them. “Even though my parents were slightly worried about the distance and circumstances there, they understood I had to take this chance”, Daisy smiles. “And because it’s a project that’s been running for a few years, it was easier for them to let me go.” Both Karlijn and Daisy’s boyfriends didn’t like the idea, but, well, what’s three months on a lifetime?
Karlijn and Daisy both study to become an ‘onderwijsassistent’ (teaching assistant), so they probably would have to assist the teachers at the school in Ghana. “But we ended up teaching two classes on our own!”, they tell me. When they arrived at the school, the teachers just walked away, expecting Karlijn and Daisy to take over classes. Daisy: “We were so glad we actually prepared our internship, otherwise it would have been way more complicating. We wanted to use the materials straight away, but it turned out we first had to assess the students to determine their level of English. We fabricated tests for this ourselves.”
Arnold Augustijn, chairman of the English for Kids Foundation (EFKF), approached them a few weeks before departure. He asked them whether they would be interested in teaching English to the children in Ghana, using the teaching materials developed by EFKF. Of course they were! Thus, they received lots of materials and started preparing. “It’s good we made lots of copies here, because you never know when you’re able to copy in Ghana. The electricity might be shut off, or it’s incredibly expensive”, explains Karlijn.
One lesson they prepared in advance was a workshop about tooth brushing. Tooth brushing? “For us this activity is self-evident, but most children there had never seen a toothbrush before. We brought toothbrushes and toothpaste and we had made them diplomas and they were so extremely proud afterwards, it brought tears in our eyes”, Daisy tells. “The most fun they had was when they were actually allowed to spit in the bucket we brought for the workshop. It was hilarious!”
Of course it wasn’t fun all the time. They also experienced some serious cultural differences. The most striking difference probably was the fact that teachers actually use corporal punishment to control the kids. “Horrible to see, and certainly not something we applied”, shivers Karlijn. But the children seemed to think it as normal. “And, in a way, it is, for them” Daisy says, “We talked to Seth about it, not making a judgment, but we just wanted to know why.”
Do they think the EFKF makes a difference? “Certainly!”, they both agree. “If it wasn’t for their materials, we would have had a hard time there.” They add: “Preparation is everything with a thing like this. And don’t expect too much”. Would they go back? “As soon as possible”, they both agree, smiling. “We’ve received lots of messages on Facebook from our friends there, they miss us. And we miss them!”
So, all in all, a great experience, thanks to EFKF and Vitalis College.
Kim van der Steen, June 2012