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Reflecting on Class Discussions, Higher Education in Ghana, Kathy Knowles, and Imagine Africa

abeardall's picture

This week was quite the exciting week in terms of our class! On Tuesday, we had the chance to reflect on our progress throughout the semester and discussed what it meant to be writer. On Wednesday, I had the opportunity to hear Canadian author Kathy Knowles speak about the literature that she writes for Ghanian youth. On Thursday, we learned about the education system in Ghana and heard Theresa Cann talk about her experience in Ghana, specifically talking about language. On Friday, we were up bright and early for our field trip with Parkway West to the Imagine Africa exhbit at UPenn. Throughout all of these discussions and experiences, a theme that has really stuck me has been the disconnection between academia and "real-life" and the values we place on different literacies. Something that I found really striking was when Kathy talked about how most Ghanaians do not find reading to be a pleasurable experience. Our initial reaction was one of horror since so many of us grew up homes where reading was encouraged and an activity associated with love and family since our families would tuck us into bed with a story. Many of those who grow up in low-income homes may also experience this disconnection from reading and pleasure. Due to lack of access to literature as well as the fact that most literature that Ghanaians read is in English, often their third language, many of them see in strictly in an academic sense. Only 4% of Ghanaians go onto tertiary education and only those who can afford it make it there. Their schools also differ from U.S ones in that most classes, grades are based solely on the fina grade. It made me relate back to our field trip in Parkway and the nature of museums themselves. I wonder if America's culture is one of loving reading as well? My action step will to be to bring this to a large class discussion to open a dialogue. There's so much more I want to write and reflect upon from this past week but unfortunately the nature of time sensitive assignments limits me articulating my thoughts in time for a midnight deadline...I want to go back and edit and add on to this post when time permits.


alesnick's picture

creating people

I understand the impulse to gather together the many rich threads of last week.  I do hope you will extend and focus this entry in time, perhaps using the word access as a key.  Accessing languages, accessing culture via artifacts, or having that access blocked/channeled, accessing books and pleasure in books, accessing people, accessing people's creative capcities . . . What about the week was most inspiring to you?  What most perplexing? What causes you to rethink? to want to revisit? to create?