Use extra classes for evaluation purposes – Lecturer

Prof Kwasi Opoku-Amankwa, Director General, GES

Prof Kwasi Opoku-Amankwa, Director General, GES

A Senior lecturer and Head of Department of Psychology in Education of the University of Education, Winneba (UEW) Dr Dandy George Dampson has urged school authorities and teachers to use the period of extra classes to carry out more assessment and evaluation of students on the content of the syllabus.

The extra/vacation classes, he said if it should be held at all should be for teachers to assist students to address specific educational needs and weaknesses.

“It is unfortunate that some schools are abusing the purpose of the exercise and are using it as a conduit for money-making without achieving much of the end results,” he said.

In an interview with the Ghanaian Times, he said the practice where some teachers leave out some topics which should be taught in the normal class with the ulterior motive of solely teaching it during extra or vacation classes was a cause for concern, adding that students who could not attend the classes become unduly disadvantaged.

Dr Dampson said the prime purpose of extra classes should not be for monetary gain but for the teacher to make a value judgment based on each child’s performance with regards to the content taught.

“Extra classes should be the period during which parents complement the role of teachers by interacting with their children and assessing their knowledge on the expected learning outcomes whilst teaching them moral lessons coupled with family values,” he said.

He said when parents conduct this exercise at home during the period; they gather valuable information on the learning competencies, disabilities and qualities of their children which should be communicated to teachers to be addressed during normal school instructional hours.

Dr Dampson said children need to recuperate their mind through playing and family interaction during vacation, adding that it is worrying some parents tend to misuse this opportunity by damping their children at school only to pursue their private and financial needs.

According to him, even though vacation periods were also to serve the purpose of recuperation and relaxation by learners, if any classes should be held at all, the time allocated for kindergarten one to class three should be one hour and class four to class six should be one and half to two hours in a day, with the sole purpose of addressing the learning disabilities of each child.

Children, he said who have multiple learning disabilities which tend to be persistent in class need to be handled by a professionally trained psychologist, adding that multiple problems of a child should be tackled on a piecemeal basis.

Asked whether schools that employ untrained teachers to teach could make the desired impact, he said “if there is a mix of both trained and untrained teachers, with periodic in-service training, it can produce satisfactory results.”

The practice, he said where some teachers expect, demand or request monetary or material gift from parents especially at the end of the term by giving envelopes to be sent to parents in the lead up to vacation should be discouraged because it is unprofessional and had the tendency to influence the teacher to wear discrimination lenses.

He urged the Ghana Education Service, Parents, Head teachers, teachers and school leaders to empower teachers to desist from such unprofessional behaviour to enable them to uplift the image of the teaching profession.

By Francis Cofie

 

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