What were you doing before you came to the University of Birmingham?
I am a professional teacher who holds a first degree in Guidance and Counselling from the University of Education Winneba in Ghana. My teaching experience spans over 28 years in both first and second cycle institutions in Ghana. I rose to the rank of a Deputy Director in the Ghana Education Service and my schedule was to coordinate guidance and counselling activities in schools in the Dangme West District of Ghana.
What attracted you to this programme?
I was attracted to the course after taking a close look at the course design that deals with the relevant issues in the Educational sector, such the curriculum in the global context, leadership skills, Professional and personal development skills, School observation, and Professional and personal development skills. As a trainer in the educational sector in my Country, I need to be abreast with current global educational issues so that I would be able to transfer the knowledge to teachers in my Country.
What do you enjoy most about your course here at Birmingham?
What I cherish most about the course is that every lecturer has made the lesson very practical in order for us to have a clear picture of how events turn out in the world of work. Secondly, I now realised the importance of having ethical obligation towards people outside my Country since the course has given me the opportunity to interact and learn with people from different countries. It is so interesting to know that you are accepted among people from different cultures. Therefore I believe is going to be easier for me to deliver my services anywhere in the globe.
I found the learning experience very interesting and thought provoking because in the first place, most issues in the topics for discussion are relevant to what we experience in real life. Secondly, I learnt about how to belong and participate in a wider global community because of the international exposure and the course content. My lectures are my role models now because they are very enthusiastic about their work. By their example, I believe I want to be more assertive, transparent, and very efficient when I go back to join the working force. Thirdly, the learning experience helps you increase your fact finding, critical thinking and problem solving skills by observation and self-exploration. For example, for the school observation module, lecturers accompanied us on visits to a lot of schools and we formed our own opinions about what we saw.
What did you find challenging about the course?
I initially found the style of writing assignment challenging since I was not used to writing in an analytical way but after listening carefully to the lecturers’ explanations I found out that the style gives way to critical thinking and expressing of ones thoughts or views about issues rather than just putting down statements or reproducing lecture notes.
What attributes should students possess?
I think students need to have organizational skills whereby they will have the ability to set priorities. Secondly, they should be able to identify distractive elements and strategies by using their discretion and foresight to eliminate them. For example they should avoid unprofitable social activities such as unnecessary travels, night club activities etc. They should always plan ahead, set academic achievement goals so that they will be motivated by them.
Would you recommend this course to others and why?
This University is simply unique. I would highly recommend this University and particularly International studies in Education because I believe the core value of the course is for everyone irrespective of their ethnic background to be included, challenged and become successful.
My next view is that, we can see that the world is increasingly becoming complex; therefore, we need to prepare ourselves through international education so that we would be able to understand how to share our planet, communicate freely with each other world-wide, solve global common issues, respect each other’s views so that we can have a positive disposition towards helping each other globally. I can also testify that International Studies Education students perceive themselves as having identities, concerns and they believe their knowledge is going to make an impact globally.
Finally, I am convinced that the course has what it takes to mould you into a responsible global citizen, as well as purposeful career oriented person because during the period of study, you will discover skills that will make you socially confident as well as professionally competent.
Any advice for students?
I would advise students to be very organized from the start of the programme by getting a work planner diary, separate files for each model assignment, draw up a personal study time table, and spend most of their time in the library. Secondly they should make sure they attend every function organized by school authorities since the activities are linked to the main course modules.
What are your plans after you have graduated?
I have already drawn up an action plan for the establishment of an Educational Counselling Consultancy, where I would organize training programmes for teachers on issues related to teaching and learning, professional and personal improvement, and counselling the youth on career education and personal-social problems of individuals.
Finally, if there was one thing you could have done differently over the course of your study what would it be?
Nothing; but to involve our stake-holders of education in Ghana to net-work with the University of Birmingham and the department of Education for them to introduce the International Studies in Education into Ghanaian Universities.