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ERIC Number: EJ1079331
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2015
Pages: 14
Abstractor: As Provided
ISSN: ISSN-0013-1881
Examining Activity-Based Learning (ABL) Practices in Public Basic Schools in the Northern Region of Ghana
Nudzor, Hope P.; Dare, Albert; Oduro, George K. T.; Bosu, Rosemary; Addy, Nii
Educational Research, v57 n4 p437-450 2015
Background: Ghana has been the testing ground for many teaching and learning initiatives over the past 15-20 years. These initiatives, largely funded by donors, have sought to improve learning by introducing and reinforcing valuable teaching skills, materials and approaches, most of them child-friendly, learner-centred and involving activity-based learning (ABL). However, a problem in Ghana, also true of other countries in sub-Saharan Africa, is that whereas efforts over the past few decades have improved access to basic education in both pupil enrolment rates and teacher numbers, educational quality as measured by standardised test scores in key subject areas remains rather low. Purpose: This article reports on an aspect of a DfID (Ghana)--sponsored research project which examined how the quality of teaching and learning in Ghanaian basic schools could be improved through the utilisation of ABL pedagogy. The current article examines three overarching themes relative to ABL pedagogy, namely how participants conceptualise ABL; ways in which ABL practices reveal themselves in classrooms; and challenges of ABL practices in Ghanaian schools. Sample: Participants (comprising representatives of Colleges of Education, District Directors and frontline Deputy Directors of Education, headteachers and teachers) were drawn using purposive sampling technique from eight schools from within four districts of the northern region of Ghana. Design and Methods: A case study approach was adopted for the study. Data collection took the form of semi-structured interviews, focused group discussions and observation of ABL practices and lessons in selected schools. Data analysis was undertaken using a 'processual analytical approach' with the view to catching realities of ABL practices in the Ghanaian educational setting. Results: Our analysis reveals that whereas the literature on ABL emphasises multi-tasking and group work as essential ingredients of ABL pedagogy, the respondents conceptualised this as meaning pupils working on the same activity-related tasks at the same time in groups. Similarly, we found that, ideally, ABL practices reveal themselves through classroom practices such as display of pupils' work in classrooms, organisation of the seating arrangements of pupils in groups, use of teaching and learning materials, formative assessment and activity-oriented lessons among others. However, in almost all the schools and classrooms we visited, these essential ingredients were missing owing to congestion and lack of furniture and logistics. Conclusions: We conclude against the backdrop of our findings that ABL techniques can be utilised more effectively in Ghanaian schools if its practices are initially promoted in model schools, for lessons to be learned, and then scaled-up as expertise is established in these model schools.
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: Elementary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Ghana
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A