We spoke with Mr. Isaac Kwabena Asante, our partner teacher who has helped Expo pioneer LUV classes in JHS from the beginning, to learn more about the benefits of LUV. Mr.Asante has his Masters of Science in Development Management and is the founder of the organization Kiddy Star Ghana.
Q: Which LUV course do you enjoy teaching the most? Isaac: I enjoy Global Doctors: Anatomy very much. In fact, it is the most practical course out of the others because it speaks to what our students are actually interested in at the moment. We are learning the same material here in Ghana; we have it in our curriculum. The difference with LUV is that we are able to do the practical work because LUV pays for the hands-on aspects of the subject matter. For instance, it is expensive to buy the heart of an animal for the dissection section of the course. Many of the students have experience maybe slaughtering fowl at home, but they don’t have the time to dissect and discover the animal. Without a teacher to guide them, they do not know the different parts of the animal that they have been learning about in class. In LUV they get to do this which is what makes the Anatomy class fun.
Q: Which LUV course do students enjoy the most? Isaac: I would still say anatomy, because it’s very practical. When we do the frog dissection, part of the exercise is to go and catch a frog and bring it into the classroom. I think they enjoy this part. They also enjoy DNA, but it is complex. Traditionally students have a bit of background in genetics, but the DNA class helps them understand how to investigate and discuss dominant and recessive traits. They then understand that if the trait is recessive it is still being carried, which is interesting for them.
Q: How does LUV impact students in and out of the classroom? Isaac: LUV impacts them in several different. First of all, they get to work with students in the United States who are the same age as them. Our children always have this preconceived notion that going abroad will change your life. Everyone assumes that migrating away from Ghana is the best way to make a living, but that notion gradually is changing. Seeing the other kids doing the same course that they are inspires them. It makes it appear as if we are not really different. That kind of peer-to-peer interaction and inspiration is something that you cannot buy; it’s something that you cannot get with a normal conventional classroom. The video exchange program builds the human being, it builds the human intellect. Your ability to interact with people outside or your familiar circles exposes you to new ways of doing things.
Q: How has LUV impacted you as a teacher in and out of the classroom? Isaac: Our curriculum in Ghana also emphasizes practicality, but at the end of the day it still borders on finances. The school budget does not allow me to buy a sheep heart for a dissection, so usually you only have the chance to do theory. You draw it on the board students do not get to see the real thing. In my opinion, LUV makes things easier because students are actually experiencing the real life application of the subject. Out of the classroom I managed to found my own non-profit organization called Kiddy Star Ghana that brings the LUV program to primary schools so students can begin to benefit from an early age.
Q: How will the skills learned in LUV benefit students in the future? There are certain things that cannot be quantified, and you cannot attach a value to learning. However, let’s just say that they are now learning a lot about the global world in which they live. Until LUV, they did not even know that kids their age around the world also make the same mistakes they make. They feel empowered to make their world a better place and be proud of themselves.