Clara Kang '13 in her classroom in Dalun, Ghana
An Education in Ghana
A passion for teaching has taken Clara Kang '13 to rural Dalun, Ghana, this summer. Klang's internship, funded by Haverford’s Center for Peace and Global Citizenship, is with the Titagya Schools, a non-profit organization that offers opportunities for early childhood education.
“Titagya,” in Dagbani, a common language in Dalun, means, “we have changed.” The group was founded by Haverford alum Andrew Garza ’08, along with local leader Abukari Abdul-Fatawu, in 2009. Northern Ghana, where Dalun is located, is known for its high poverty and low adult literacy rates. “The students at Titagya are very successful,” Kang says. “[They] are three years ahead of their peers in term of English proficiency and math skills.” Titagya Schools brings together local and international educators, providing opportunities for those who are eager to teach as well as students who are excited to learn.
Kang has worked with young children since high school, but working with her students in Ghana has come with surprises. “I didn’t quite expect just how much of a challenge it would be to teach to non-native English speakers,” says Kang, who wishes she knew more Dagbani.
“I’ve come to realize is just how unfair it is to compare Titagya Schools to pre-primary schools in the U.S.,” she says. “The resources are not the same at all.” Though it may seem as though American children have every privilege, Kang says, “In Dalun no one feels like they’re missing out on anything. It’s been incredible so far, experiencing that life here, where children revel in the simple things, like kicking a soccer ball around.”
Though there are many differences between Kang’s previous teaching experiences and her work in Ghana, rewarding moments, such as when a struggling student finally grasps a lesson, are still very present. One day, when the younger students were practicing writing their numbers, Kang noticed one boy struggling. “I made sure to stick by his side, and had him copy me line by line. When we got to number five, though, he got it on the first try! I think he was just as excited as I was, for when I was making my rounds around the classroom and went back to check up on him, his section of the desk was absolutely covered in fives”
“It was so rewarding to just be a part of that moment,” says Kang.
-Erin Adaline Seglem ‘14