Comparative Analysis of Ghana and United States Educational Systems

By: Sidonia Alenuma-Nimoh  

This paper explores inclusive teaching strategies and best practices for teaching all children irrespective of their background (gender, race, class, language, religion, sexual orientation, ability, etc.). This quest in the field of education has a long history and there are a plethora of ideas on how we can “teach all our children” especially in the United States. In this paper, I explore how the quest manifests itself in Ghana. Content of the study is based on field research conducted in Ghana in the academic year 2013-2014. African teachers have always taught students of different ability levels, class, and cultural differences in the same setting without having to analyze: am I using differentiation? They just do it and know that it works. Or do they? What can be learned from teachers who are seemingly oblivious of such strategies as culturally responsive, multicultural, and differentiation instruction? What strides are being made and how can an African country such as Ghana learn from educators in the United States and their preoccupation to be intentional about including everyone in their instruction and vice versa? Rather than viewing the inclusive instructions in isolation, is there any merit in hybridism? Does naming and acknowledging the teaching practice lead to best practices? What happens when inclusive strategies are blended in a subconscious manner, not named, but just done? Could there be lessons learned from the margins, from the practices of Ghanaian educators?

Pedagogy, Inclusivity, Social Justice, Transformative Teaching
Education and Learning in a World of Difference
Paper Presentation in a Themed Session

Dr. Sidonia Alenuma-Nimoh

Assotiate Professor, Elementary and Secondary Education, Gustavus Adolphus College, United States
Minnesota, United States

Dr. Sidonia Alenuma-Nimoh teaches at Gustavus Adolphus College in the USA. She has an honor BA in Sociology and Russian from the University of Ghana; an MA in International Development Studies from Saint Mary’s University, Halifax, Canada; and a PhD in Cultural Studies in Education from the University of Tennessee, Knoxville. Her interests include: international development studies; multicultural anti-racism education; social foundations of education; and educational reform. Some of her publications include: Race, Urban Schools, and Educational Reform, in Teaching City Kids: Understanding and Appreciating Them; Downtown Elementary School (DES): The Unique School that Juxtaposes both Magnet and Professional Development School Programs (US-China Education Review, 6(7), 2009); and Making Some Modest Strides: The Story of Downtown Elementary School (DES) (International Electronic Journal of Elementary Education (IEJEE), 1(3), 2009); Gendered Globalization: A Reexamination of the Changing Roles of Women in Africa, in Kapoor, D. (2011). Critical Perspectives in Neoliberal Globalization, Development and Education in Africa and Asia. Dr. Alenuma-Nimoh’s book, Race and Educational Reform in America: History, Strategies and Ethnography, was published in 2009. She is currently researching and making conference presentations on effective inclusive pedagogies for teaching ALL students, irrespective of their background (be it class, gender, learning abilities). Some of these instructional approaches being explored include: Differentiated Instruction, Differentiated Multicultural Instruction, Culturally Responsive Teaching, Cooperative Learning, etc. Some of her most recent presentations include titles such as: Rethinking Teaching and Teachers for Students of Poverty; Taking Multicultural Education to the Next Level: An Introduction to Differentiated Multicultural Instruction.