Excitement in the Classroom: Learning about Ghana

29 August 2016

Primary Source has provided in-district training about Ghana’s history and culture for 2nd grade teachers in Massachusetts for many years.  An integral component of our programming is a first-hand account of Ghanaian life, and most recently we had the pleasure of working with Ghanaian college student Crystal Kwabea Adu-Poku, of Wellesley College. Organized by Program Consultant Mary Fuller, Crystal’s first presentation was to thirty 2nd grade teachers in Brookline in March 2016.  Hearing about this lively and engaging program, the Lexington K-5 Social Studies Coordinator contacteghana celebrationsd Mary about arranging two similar presentations in May for 160 students and their teachers.  We had a chance to connect with Crystal and hear her perspective on the importance of primary sources in teaching about different cultures.

1) How did you first connect with Primary Source, and how did the organization's mission resonate with you?

I was excited to be part of Primary Source’s programs on Ghana.  The mission of Primary Source is very important, especially considering how globalization has made student learning about different cultures and global issues both useful and necessary.  Being introduced to other ways of life enhances the learning process, especially when teachers and students meet people from other countries.  When I heard about Primary Source through a friend and former program presenter, I was happy the connection was made so that these presentations on Ghana could continue.

2) What appealed to you about Primary Source's request to have you give a presentation on your country to both teachers and students?

I was impressed that Primary Source was looking for factual information about Ghana, and for my experiences living in Ghana.  I also appreciated that Primary Source seeks out representatives of the countries and cultures about which they are teaching, so the information being shared is culturally sensitive and genuine.

3) How would you describe the students' responses to your presentations, and the kinds of questions they asked?

All in all, it was satisYoung-girl-in-Ghanafying to see the interest and excitement that the students had in learning about Ghana.  Their responses varied across classes, with some being more talkative and interactive, while others listened more attentively.  

My favorite part of the presentation was when I asked the students to identify their Ghanaian day names (a Ghanaian custom whereby children are named for the day upon which they were born).  It was fun to see how excited they were to learn their Ghanaian day names.  The students also asked very good questions, some of which were challenging to answer with simple language they would understand.  This showed me the depth of the students’ knowledge and how advanced they were in their analytical thinking skills. It was quite impressive.

4) How do you feel that your presentation created new awareness for the students?

I think the student responses showed their fascination with learning new things about Ghana. Judging from how engaged they were, how enthusiastically they answered my questions and posed some back at me, and how they generally conducted themselves during the presentations, I am sure that many of the students left having learned something new about Ghana.  I truly enjoyed this experience and would welcome the opportunity to do it again.

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