Nana Acquah

Primary Teacher Education, 2014

Nana Acquah

I have always wanted to work with children and the course provided the necessary skill-set and learning experiences to achieve my goals. I was attracted to the course because of the wide range of modules that were offered, such as the option of placements

Before studying Primary Teacher Education at Oxford Brookes, Nana completed a BTEC in Children’s Care, Learning and Development at Leeds City College while working as a Nursery Nurse in a primary school and a playworker with young children with Special Educational Needs.

I decided to study Primary Teacher Education because I greatly enjoy interacting with children on their level, learning and gaining insights into their own way of seeing the world. Helping children to develop by playing an active role in their lives is tremendously rewarding to me. I wanted to explore everything about the field of Primary Education and this degree provided me with an excellent foundation for a career in teaching.

I was attracted to Brookes because of the course content compared to other universities. The course applies an analytical approach to primary teaching. I knew this would widen my intellectual and practical skills with opportunities to reflect upon and broaden my understanding of theoretical and practical considerations in the classroom. I was particularly attracted to the course because of the school placement opportunities which provided me with plenty of practical experience to use the most effective teaching and learning strategies.

When I first started at Brookes I was studying Early Childhood Studies. However, almost immediately I realised that I wanted to join a course that would provide me with a Qualified Teacher Status (QTS) and so I requested to move. Brookes accommodated my request and the transition was very smooth. In my second year, I had the opportunity to study abroad at the University of Stavanger, Norway. This was one of the most exciting things I did whilst on the course. The experience increased my intercultural competence, expanded my critical reflection and made me realise a deeper and broader understanding of myself and of the world.

The vibrant city life and the diversity of different cultures in Oxford are unforgettable. The beautiful mixture of old and new buildings and the fascinating museums and libraries in Oxford make it a perfect environment to thrive as a student. During my time in Oxford, I have learnt about many different cultures and customs, both from my time at Brookes and studying abroad in Norway. I have learnt to find common themes that we all could share. I have also learnt to tolerate any differences we may have had, to listen to others’ opinions and work together as a team. I have seen the whole process as a magnificent character-building exercise which helped me in my studies.

During my time spent at Brookes, I have been involved in many other activities connected to my area of study. I actively participated in voluntary and paid work in other universities and on campus. These included participating in a ‘Philosophy of Education’ course at University of Roehampton, being a “Shadower” of the United Kingdom Literacy Association (UKLA) reading, discussing and voting for the 2014 children’s books, being an Erasmus Ambassador and working as a student guider during Open days at Harcourt Hill campus. Other activities also included one week’s experience in a highly populated EAL (students with English as an additional language) primary school and a two-week school experience at a Norwegian primary school whose pupils did not have Norwegian as their first language.

From this, I was inspired to further my education and explore studies about how people gain second language acquisition skills, especially after my experience abroad on the Erasmus exchange programme. The experience of learning a new language abroad was an important factor in my choice of preference to continue my education at Master’s level. I am currently studying an MSc in Applied Linguistics and Second Language Acquisition at University of Oxford. The qualification from Brookes and the MSc qualification will enable me to realise my future ambition of working in education as an academic researcher, a language teacher in higher education and teaching English as a foreign language.

Thanks to the dedicated staff at the School of Education, I know I will be a more effective, reflective, well-rounded and successful teacher!