The Covid 19 pandemic and its associated economic downturn have affected education badly and by extension teacher development especially in under-developed and developing countries like Ghana. The United Nation estimates that about 94 per cent of schools have been affected by the pandemic globally.
This impact is most likely to affect teacher and their personal and professional developments. In low and middle-income countries like Ghana, the impact is even direr. Because of this, educational outcomes are likely to be affected drastically. As the pandemic continues to run its course, many nations have implemented measures to ensure that students are back in schools to continue their academic works which ended abruptly due to the Covid 19 pandemic.
Such measures include hybrid and online tuition. Most of these measures put in place do not target teacher professional development. Since teachers are at the pivot of education and therefore will be foundational in preparing students for a covid and post covid education, it is imperative to draw and implement measures that will strictly target their professional development for a post covid intervention to mitigate the impact covid has had on education generally.
In Ghana, teacher development largely happens through schools in-service training. Such training normally takes place in the schools and among the teachers with a teacher volunteering as a resource person for each section in most cases. The nature of this training makes them a small group collaborative work and training. Traditionally, they occur through face-to-face interactions.
With covid still lingering, there is therefore the need to largely avoid face to face interactions or activities. Since they are mostly made up of small groupings of teachers, a virtual platform should be used under these circumstances. The groupings should be made up of colleague teachers, School Improvement Supporting Officer, a health professional and a tentative resource person.
This will ensure that teachers get abreast with virtual and hybrid methods of instruction. In a covid and post covid education where hybrid and virtual forms of instructions has become the order of the day, it is no less quintessential to build the capacity of teachers on mounting and managing hybrid and virtual classroom.
In terms of activities, a hybrid has access to all same things that you would use for face-to-face instructions. That said, how you implement your activities with your students may change drastically due to the flexibility of hybrid instruction. The University of Wisconsin, Bothell’s learning technology centre put it precisely as; “The schedule and structure of hybrid instructions can vary significantly from one class to another. This underscores the pedagogical flexibility characteristic of the hybrid module.
The instructor of a hybrid instruction typically determines what instructional activities should be online or face-to-face depending on the learning goals, learning objectives, content and available resources. Similarly, the time table for face-to-face instruction versus online work can be organized in quite different ways that may reflect not only pedagogical criteria but also the particular circumstances of the instructor and students”.
Teacher development can, therefore, takes this form, hybrid, with about 75% of the instruction taking place on the virtual platform. With the remaining 25% taking place face-to-face. This session will help teachers learn and also be abreast with managing a hybrid form of instruction which has come in handy in this pandemic era.
Participants on this platform will have the same things that the traditional facet-face in-set will offer them and additionally add to their repertoire, management of online classroom and delivery of same. Some of this notable online platform that can be used for this includes but not limited to; Udacity, DataCamp Udemy, Edx, Coursera, and Skillshare
Even before Covid 19 pandemic, students in Ghana were facing important educational challenges. The Ghana Human Capital Index indicates that children born in Ghana today can only be expected to reach 44% of their potential.
Challenges in schools are not minor, 70% to 80% of lower primary school students are unable to do simple reading and solve the basic arithmetic problem. Classes are usually overcrowded, there is a shortage of trained teachers and textbooks. School closure is likely to exacerbate this problem.
Teachers have always risen to the occasion, doing their utmost best within these challenges. It is therefore highly imperative to ensure that teacher professional development is paramount on the radar of educational management to ensure that teachers can be equipped with current instructional methods to help mitigate the impact the Covid 19 pandemic has had on education.