Francis Addo Munyuhitum has been teaching STEM for the past two years. He might be one of the newest teachers around but unlike many who had to choose or try out other professions before finding their purpose in STEM education, being an educator has always been his goal. Francis currently teaches a little over forty children at the Sakyi Agyakwa School. He is married with four children and is also on his way to becoming a trained minister of the Gospel. Francis’ grandfather has been a great inspiration to him and he learned hard work and discipline from him.
Although he had the passion to teach STEM, Francis had to work extra hard to improve his skill in mathematics in order to get to where he is today. His challenges along the way to becoming a STEM educator keep motivating and inspiring him. Francis works to give his best to his students who in turn keep his desire strong with their success, interest and questions.
Mr. Munyuhitum has a greater interest in the practical aspects of STEM education and tries to infuse a lot of that into his teaching, which he believes the students enjoy. To gain more knowledge and ideas on new and innovative ways of teaching STEM, he became a member of the Mathematics Teachers Association of Ghana where there is constant exchange of resources among members.
Being a STEM educator has also made him a good researcher as he is always on the look-out for new ways to teach. He relies heavily on the Internet during research. He has also found meaning in encouraging and helping his female students so that they can feel competent to explore careers in STEM.
Soon after Francis found out about the JUNEOS Challenge, he introduced the concept to his students. By accepting the Challenge and going through the whole process, his students developed a new appreciation for STEM and now want to be a part of the JUNEOS Challenge again. His students used the JUNEOS Challenge as a way of exposing the hazards of using chemicals in growing vegetables. They created an indicator that can test acid or alkaline levels in vegetables. The competition helped his students relate everything they had learnt to everyday issues and also helped them develop a problem-solving attitude.
By using the Teaching and Learning Materials both he and his students have learnt more ways in using practical approaches to teach and learn.
Mr. Munyuhitum believes that the JUNEOS Challenge is an enlightening experience and should be introduced into more schools. He also advises that the educators be motivated as much as the students so that all parties put in their best.
One important thing for Mr. Munyuhitum is to see more female students and women explore and thrive in STEM education and professions. He encourages the JUNEOS team to make it a point to focus on more female students and training of more female teachers as well.
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Article by Elizabeth Johnson.
Elizabeth Johnson works as a researcher and project manager with Dr Monk and volunteers the rest of her time with the Writers Project of Ghana where she takes up various roles such as radio show production, social media management and administrator for their annual literary festival. She is a published writer who writes both fiction and non fiction and has won awards for her work.