Ghanaian teachers visit Perins


Do you remember that early burst of summer? It happened in the last two weeks of May; coincidently this was also the time when we the pleasure of hosting two teachers, Mr Felix Osei and Mr Lawrence Anyan, from New Tafo Methodist School in Ghana. They arrived at Heathrow at 6.40am on Tuesday 22nd May dressed in several layers of clothing ready for the cool UK climate. By the time we reached New Alresford they were back in their Ghanaian clothes feeling a little cheated; the Ghanaian weather had followed them to Alresford and whilst we were all pleased with the change in temperature our guest were hoping to experience something a little more ‘English’.

Felix and Lawrence had come to visit Perins School as part of the Global Schools Programme funded by the Department for International Development. This is the second year of the programme which focusses on sharing ideas and teaching methods between the two schools. In November 2011, Helen, Aaron & I took two teachers from Perins; Nick & Julia Eacott to visit the New Tafo Methodist School in Ghana and this was the reciprocal visit. During our visit to Ghana we explored the use of solar cookers and undertook experiments with the pupils to see how successful they were. The cookers were made by Year 10 pupils during their DT lessons at Perins and following the tests the Ghanaian pupils tried to come up with an improved design. So armed with the work from their pupils Felix and Lawrence were able to meet and share ideas with the Perins pupils in order to develop the project further. In addition to this Felix and Lawrence also joined in with classes across the school so that could meet lots of pupils and share ideas with the teachers. It was a very different experience for them, as our school buildings and facilities differ greatly, but one they both enjoyed immensely. During their stay they also spent time at Ropley Primary School, Oakley Infant School and Winchester University so that they could see a broad spectrum of UK education.  

As their visit came to a close I asked them what had surprised them the most about the UK during their stay; for Felix it was the fact that it stayed light for so long. In Ghana it gets dark at 6pm every day regardless of the time of year. Occasionally he would call his family in Ghana and in every conversation he would say something like “I am telling you, it is 9pm here and it is still daylight!” For Lawrence it was the quality of our roads as in Ghana, apart from in the main cities, a lot of roads are still rough tracks. He also found some of our food odd; in particular he could not understand why we would want to eat a potato that still had its jacket on. This left them if fits of laughter when we ordered one in a pub one evening and became a running joke for the rest of the trip. Politely they left out the differences in wealth and facilities but it did remind me how fortunate we are in the UK to have so much to help us learn.

As I drove back from Heathrow having seen them safely through passport control clouds started to appear and I realised that although we had shared so much in terms of teaching and learning we were not going to share their weather; as I reached Alresford it started to rain, the Ghanaian style summer was over!