Discussion Paper 4. "On the Threshold": the Identity of Student Teachers in Ghana.


This paper considers the identity of Ghanaian student teachers as they begin training. It begins with an outline of the educational context. It then goes on to note the importance of the contextualised self, which teachers bring to training, formed by home environment, school experience and other factors. In exploring this contextualised self, both survey and qualitative methods were used and key findings are as follows: trainees are often young, unwilling recruits with no teaching experience (or limited informal teaching experience), weak grades, and are generally from poorer backgrounds. They often express altruistic reasons for being a teacher and some positive attitudes as to their potential impact in the classroom, alongside more instrumental motivations such as the desire for further study and using teaching as a gateway to other parts of the profession or out of it. The transmission model of teaching predominates in training and many articulate a desire for more teaching practice and methodology. Many experienced hardship in their family life. Positive experience of schooling often related to teachers who connected to their own lives or were caring. Negative experiences often related to use of the cane. The paper ends with a call for teacher education to reflect more closely, and engage with, the cultural realities of schooling in Ghana, and the experiences of trainees.


Sussex, UK: Centre for International Education, 41 pp.

Discussion Paper 4. “On the Threshold”: the Identity of Student Teachers in Ghana.

Published 1 January 2000