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Ghana trip by Kendal teachers proves a valuable lesson
TWO Kendal primary school teachers have returned from the trip of a lifetime as links with a Ghanaian school go from strength to strength.
Helen Thwaites and Jane Edmonds, of Castle Park School, made the journey as part of the British Council’s Global School Partnership.
It enables schools from contrasting backgrounds to learn about each other’s culture and way of life through exchange visits.
The week-long placement comes after Ghanese teacher Ernest Agyemang, from St Mary’s Anglican School, in Kasoa, visited Castle Park in March and took classes.
On the reciprocal trip, the teachers took with them two suitcases full of stationery donated by parents and Ken-dal Mint Cake given by manufacturer Romneys.
Ms Thwaites said: “The colouring pens were a real novelty because the children hadn’t really used them bef-ore.
“We spent the majority of the time in our linked school in an urban setting just out-side the capital Accra.”
The school is the only state school in the town and its 3,000 pupils are split into classes of 120, considerably larger than UK class sizes.
Broadening learning exper-iences between both teachers and children and improving curriculums are the motivations behind the initiative.
Ms Thwaites said both sets of children and teachers had gained from the experience.
She said: “Before we left, children filled in ‘passport booklets’ with personal information about themselves and their hopes and aspirations.
“We took copies of them out with us, the children in Ghana filled their own in and we brought them back to share with our children here.”
Both teachers observed literacy, numeracy and science lessons and also taught the children themselves. And the inquisitive youngsters asked plenty of questions to find out more about where their vis-itors had come from.
“Children were keen to ask about Kendal and the Lake District. They were very interested in life here and they asked some amazing questions,” explained Ms Thwaites.
“Some of the photographs of Castle Park were taken in snow. They were really interested by that.”
The project forms part of Castle Park’s global citizenship work, where children learn about other cultures and how the world is connected.
Interest in Ms Thwaites and Ms Edmonds’ exchange was rife back home, thanks to the enthusiasm of the children.
Ms Thwaites added: “While we were away, we kept a blog and we updated it each evening so teachers and children in Kendal could follow our adventures. They were asking us questions that we could answer immediately, getting excited about it at school and going home and telling their parents about it and they became interested.”
The school hopes the British Council will continue funding the partnership for another three years.