The fifth of October is a special day around the world, as it marks a period to highlight and celebrate the influence that teachers have on society. UNESCO constituted World Teachers Day in 1994 to draw attention to teachers’ contributions, achievements, concerns, and objectives within education. The 5th October date was chosen as the international day to honour teachers because it was on that same date in 1966 that a special intergovernmental meeting accepted the UNESCO Recommendation on the Status of Teachers.
Teaching of Mathematics
Mathematics is the backbone of all the other STEM programs; you could describe it as the language of science. However, many students worldwide either shy away from it or devote just a little time to getting to know it more. This lack of interest may be due to several reasons: the methodology and pedagogy used in its delivery, to mention but few. Due to the nature of the subject, learners will need more practice time to understand every single concept.
On the other hand, teachers need to have the energy and patience to grasp the underlying concepts fully. In addition to all these, mathematics teachers should link the subject to real-life problems that pupils/students are familiar with. This approach can be best applied at the primary and elementary educational levels to enable learners to appreciate the subject’s importance even at a tender age.
AIMS Ghana making a difference
As a UNESCO Category II Centre of Excellence, AIMS Ghana, in November 2020, started a flagship program with support from the Government of Ghana to train more teachers in the field of Mathematics. The Masters in Mathematical Sciences for Teachers (MMST) is specialized postgraduate training that exposes teachers of various high schools in Ghana to refined methodology and exciting new ways to teach mathematics and other STEM-related subjects. From 49 schools across the country and covering 11 regions, the MMST program supports teachers, out of which 35% are female. As a gender-responsive institution, we believe that getting more female teachers to teach the subject will get more girls into the field and eliminate the fear that STEM is a male zone.
Over the past 10 months, more than 2,000 learners across the schools where MMST students teach have experienced a difference in how mathematics lessons are presented to them. Their lessons are more engaging and student-centered, and relevance is seen in almost all topics treated in class. This impact is easily facilitated due to the Hybrid nature of the program. Unlike other teacher training programs that teachers have to learn over months and years in school before entering the classroom to practice, the lessons students learn in the MMST classroom are practised the next day in their classrooms. This method gives them immediate feedback on how those approaches can work or otherwise and seeks counsel from their lectures in their following class, which is usually just a day away.
The MMST program is one of AIMS Ghana’s full-scholarship programs, and as such, beneficiaries do not make any financial commitments before they are enrolled. They, however, receive learning gadgets and monthly stipends that make their studies effective.
The Way Forward
AIMS Ghana continues to pledge its support to all teachers across the country and the world. The MMST program will, in the coming days, call for application for its second cohort. This call will target recruiting more teachers into the field and give them the right tools and skills to significantly impact Ghana’s educational system. We wish to extend this program to admit teachers from other West African countries and entire Africa at large in the future.
Indeed, not all heroes wear capes. Teachers continue to nurture minds – both young and old – in society, and this is a service that must be celebrated.
We wish all teachers across the globe a Happy World Teachers Day.