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Title: Teachers' participation in community development activities in Ghana
Author: Barnes, Willie.
ISNI:       0000 0001 3446 344X
Awarding Body: University of Sussex
Current Institution: University of Sussex
Date of Award: 2003
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Teachers are being encouraged in Ghana to facilitate local level development. No attempt has however been made to explore their views, concerns and expectations regarding such involvement, nor the impact that this could have on their role as teachers and their status in the community, nor on the community's own participation in the school. The research examined these issues, alongside the type of development activities engaged in by teachers and their motivation for doing so. The study focused on teachers working in deprived areas across eight regions of Ghana. It involved a combination of quantitative and qualitative strategies. The former enabled the systematic gathering of standardised questionnaire data, using both closed and open ended items, from 324 practising teachers and 380 teacher trainees. The latter involved semi structured interviews and informal discussions with 24 teachers, 10 local residents from one village, 10 educational administrators and five college tutors. Focus group discussions were also held with eight groups of teacher trainees. One teacher was used to illustrate an example of a classroom teacher who is actively involved in community work. Content analysis of the Daily Graphic provided both quantitative and qualitative data. The qualitative aspect of the study was used to pursue other interesting lines of enquiry that was revealed through the initial analysis of the questionnaires. Data from the teacher questionnaire and interviews showed that teachers are involved in both voluntary and compulsory communal activities, paid and unpaid, and many teachers are in leadership or supervisory positions. In contrast it was observed that teachers have few school responsibilities apart from their normal classroom teaching. The reasons for their involvement in communal activities rather than in school activities are explored in the study. Evidence is provided to show that on the one hand teacher involvement in community activities contributes to the provision of basic amenities in a community and can also impact positively on schooling. On the other hand it can lead to teacher absenteeism and lateness and bring about a conflict between some teachers and local residents. Despite reservations and problems, educational administrators and local residents endorsed teachers' participation and reports suggest that in some villages, residents actively encouraged teachers. Based on the evidence suggesting that teacher involvement in community work is good for the community, the school and teachers themselves, there are arguments in support of this involvement. Firstly, there are lessons to be learnt that could be translated to the schools. For example the leadership skills of teachers within the community can be used to provide effective school leadership. Secondly, it may allow the gap between schools and their communities to be bridged. Thirdly, it may encourage greater participation by the community in education as a reciprocal gesture. Finally teachers appear to benefit both directly and indirectly from this involvement. The recommendations suggest that potential negative effects on schooling could be lessened if teachers' community activities are better organised and effectively managed and trainee teachers exposed to more practical work. The study describes how trainees could be predisposed to events, experiences and encounters to gain the needed practical exposure and organisational skills. It also mentions ways in which the school should be brought closer to the community as a strategy to assist teachers to fulfil their dual role. Further research should include an investigation of teachers' involvement in community activities in urban settings to enable comparison with teachers in rural areas, and a closer analysis of the impact of such involvement on schooling in general and classroom activities in particular.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Education & training