I hope this is helpful for others and would also love to hear of any suggestions you might have.
Our instructional strategy at an orphanage in Ghana:
I’m working in an orphanage in Ghana that operates a private school for our children and some community children as well. Children come and go at unpredictable times throughout the year, and children spend 1.5 years (on average) at our facility. Some stay for only a few weeks and we have had some for a few years. The ages of children range from 1-16 years. Some have attended school regularly and some have never been in a classroom before. We usually have around 60 students. We currently have 4 classrooms.
- Our classes need to be able to receive a new student on any day of the term. Students need to be able to participate meaningfully even if they have missed the beginning of the term.
- Our classes need to be able to adapt as our student population changes. Sometimes we have mostly lower-primary students and sometimes we have mostly junior high students.
- We have to accommodate up to 9 grades of students (Primary 1 - Junior high 3) in only 4 classrooms.
- Help students learn as much as possible while they are here. Especially math, English, and science.
- Increase student readiness to pass the BECE (an exam that they must take after junior high to gain entrance to high school).
- Competency framework
- Technology-mediated instructional delivery
We are creating a competency framework for math, English, and science. A competency framework allows us to break down our instructional goals into small, measurable pieces . For example:
1.1 Count from 0-10
1.2 Identify numbers 0-10
1.3 Write numbers 0-10
1.5 Count from 0-120
Having a competency framework is a foundation that allows us to (a) identify where are students are at, (b) see where they need to go, © understand how to help them get there.
We are creating an assessment for each competency in our framework. The assessments are essential for us to understand which competencies our students have mastered and which competencies they need more help with.
We give our students a comprehensive assessment when they arrive our facility so we know which classroom group to place them in. Our students continue to take assessments regularly so we know which group to place them in and what to help them learn next.
We currently administer the assessments through Moodle, because Moodle provides a nice report that allows us to see all of our students on one page with the competencies they have mastered. We hope to be able to move these to Kolibri, but will have to wait for Kolibri’s features to mature.
Technology mediated delivery
Using technology to deliver instruction allows a few teachers to provide personalized instruction for many, diverse students. Our teachers use Kolibri to deliver daily lessons to their students. Students are able to learn at their own pace, and engage with content that is the most relevant to help them achieve their next competency. Using Kolibri also frees up our teachers to coach and help individual students rather than being required to lecture all day.