Ms. Leticia Emefa Yawa Akabutoo, a graduate of the University of Education, Winneba (UEW), is pushing the boundaries of the teaching profession with her array of advocacy initiatives that aim to prepare pupils/students as global citizens for life after school.
Ms. Leticia Akabutoo, a 2011 UEW graduate, has been helping learners at the primary, junior high, and senior high schools to acquire and develop 21st-century skills like media literacy, intercultural communication, financial literacy, teamwork, critical thinking, technology literacy, creativity, and global awareness.
Teaching the English Language at St. Catherine Senior High School in the Volta Region of Ghana, Ms. Leticia Akabutoo endeavours to incorporate these essential skills into her lessons utilising blended/hybrid learning to connect her students to other students and teachers around the world with the aid of remote technology platforms such as Zoom, Google Classrooms, and Google Meet.
She created “the Solar Powered Mower Project” to direct a group of students at St. Catherine Senior High School to conduct research into climate change issues affecting pupils in the Agbakope community, where the school is located, as part of her effort to contribute to the battle against climate change.
The team of researchers discovered that climate change was responsible for the downpours in the community that made the grass grow at a faster rate. The team consequently collaborated with students from International High School in Largo, USA, to develop a long-term solution to the urgent issue of climate change.
This arrangement culminated in a series of meetings with science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) experts in months of virtual conferences. The bi-national team built a prototype of a solar-powered lawnmower designed to cut grass on school grounds.
This put an immediate halt to the problem of students spending numerous hours weeding grass on school grounds, a detrimental phenomenon to students’ academic work. This solution also saved students from exposure to sunburns, snake bites, scorpion stings, skin allergies, and the tendency for injuries through the cutlass.
Ms. Leticia Akabutoo was one of four Ghanaian teachers selected in a highly competitive selection process to participate in the prestigious Fulbright Teaching Excellence and Achievement (TEA) Programme in the USA in the year 2020. She was hosted at the University of North Carolina, Wilmington, where she took part in professional development, representing the latest research in the field disseminated in a compressed time frame. She also had the opportunity to experience field practice at New Hanover High School. She served as a great ambassador for Ghana and the teaching profession while in the USA.
She used the networks she had built during the Fulbright fellowship on her return to Ghana to transform teaching and learning at her school. In March 2023, she hosted two US Fulbright Teachers for Global Classrooms awardees in her school and community for three weeks, resulting in St. Catherine Senior High School deepening its ties with high schools in the USA.
In an interview with the UEW Media Relations outfit, Ms. Leticia Akabutoo indicated that she wanted her learners to be able to fit easily into any environment in which they found themselves.
“As a teacher, I do more than just teach, and my influence extends far beyond the walls of my classroom. I do not only teach students to pass their examinations; I offer them a complete education targeted at preparing them adequately for future studies and careers by helping them acquire 21st-century skills,” she emphasised.
She anticipates that her work will serve as a model for other teachers, especially those who teach in rural areas, to connect their learners to the larger world.
“I believe the work I do and my contributions to education locally and globally can easily serve as a model for teachers in Ghana and elsewhere. My goal is to use my advocacy to promote students’ acquisition of 21st-century skills and Global Citizenship Education (GCED) through blended/hybrid learning,” she stated.
Ms. Leticia Akabutoo wants to see herself as a passionate and highly skilled teacher who can efficiently use innovative instructional methods and technological tools to make teaching and learning attractive to students, especially those who study in deprived and low-resource schools.
“I aim to contribute to education locally and globally by publishing articles, attending and presenting at conferences, conducting research, and creating educational tools and resources that can benefit learners and educators,” she averred.
The 2011 graduate of UEW encouraged her fellow teachers to continue affecting the lives of learners positively. She urged eligible Ghanaian teachers to develop an interest in teacher exchange programmes such as Fulbright Teacher Exchanges to enrich their personal and professional lives. She motivated parents and guardians to invest in the education of their children to help them develop the skills needed to succeed in life.