In the spirit of Teaching for Transformation, Lynden Christian launched its first Global Education Outreach this June, as 12 Lynden Christian staff, students, and alumni travelled to Tema, Ghana to work with four schools, spending time in their classrooms and offering a one day professional teaching conference.
Working with both public and private schools, the team helped the local teachers with curriculum development, classroom practices, reading strategies, and assessment. In Ghana, teacher development hardly exists. Often times, teachers have their credentials, they are put in a classroom, and it’s up to the headmaster to train them as educators. “There is almost no such thing as professional development,” says high school teacher and trip coordinator, Jeff Thomas. “There is not the time or the resources to help teachers like we do in America.”
Three of the four schools the team visited – Mazon Grace Christian Academy, Lillies of the Valley School, and State School for the Deaf – were established in order to reach extremely poor communities who might otherwise not have educational opportunities; they want to reach the poorest of the poor, they want to give them an education and train them to be leaders. “Working in Ghana is so easy,” Thomas says. “We taught 105 teachers at the conference, and I think it is the first time anyone ever told most of these that they were doing Kingdom-work.”
The team focused on teaching to the head, hearts, and hands because. Ghana is a state-mandated curriculum, but even public schools in Ghana can have chapels, they can pray, they can invite pastors to share. “It’s a picture of a country that knows what they believe,” Thomas says. “They have two priorities: God and Education. Ghana is hungry for the gospel, and education is the easiest way for LC to bring it to them.”
Besides the school visit, the team took a day trip across the countryside, ending with an educational tour to Cape Coast, the origin of the African slave trade. “We wanted the team to see everything,” Thomas says, “and everyone fell in love with the culture, the schools, the kids, and the culture.” And the vision became contagious, according to Senior Emmalee Bailey: “I’m so thankful to have been able to experience the beautiful people of Ghana. Coming home I have fresh eyes, where my world just got a lot bigger, my appreciation of my family and life just grew a lot deeper, and my personal faith has been challenged to be lived out openly and unashamedly.”