How to Teach about Malaria

This page is primarily directed to teachers in Ghana, but may be of use for other teachers interested in the subject, too. It discusses shortly how to teach about malaria considering limited resources.

Orientation "How to Teach about Malaria"

Why should I teach about malaria
- Four Reasons
- You just have to teach it

A word about teaching methods
Structure of lesson plan
Short overview of available lessons and elements

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Why should I teach about malaria

It is a well known fact that many teachers are stretched to the limits of their resources including time and ability to cope with a more and more difficult environment. Why then, so may many teachers ask, should I improve my teaching on the subject of malaria, which is not even normally a topic in examination. Some reasons why this should be done are given below. In case you already know why you should teach about malaria, you can jump to "A word about teaching methods".

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Four Reasons

Even though it is evident, the most important reasons should be mentioned first. Teachers should tell their pupils and students about malaria, because this sickness affects large parts of the population, because it is responsible for a high percentage of hospital admissions and because it is an obstacle to individual development as well as progress of the whole country. Therefore any chance of reducing the incidence of malaria and be it only by improving the knowledge of the public about it can contribute to further the prosperity of everyone and may also improve the general attendance of students in the classroom.

Secondly, as the malaria parasite is a species with many tricks up its sleaves, nobody should give it the chance to procrastinate because of inadequate behaviour both concerning prevention and treatment of malaria infection.

Third, as research connected to malaria has been rewarded with four Nobel prizes so far and the subject is linked with many basic concepts of teaching in biology, chemistry, health science and mathematics, it can serve as a model cause of relating topics to each other, which facilitates the learning in students.

Fourth, according to the WHO many countries suffering from malaria epidemics don't have the experts they need so badly to observe and control the disease. Therefore, an introduction of the topic in lower classes can only benefit society as some of the well instructed students may turn into malariologist later on.

You just have to teach it

Maybe you have considered teaching about malaria before, but your efforts were hampered by lack of information. The lessons and the materials now provided draw on the newest available information on the topic and are the result of the review of many publications by the WHO and other organizations as well as many web pages available on the internet. Thus, there is no longer a need to painfully collect bits of information yourself. After studying the lesson plans, and if needed the background materials, you can organize the materials needed for the lesson and start right away.

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A word about teaching methods

Teaching methods change from time to time. Yesterdays craze is todays educational nightmare. Therefore no single approach in teaching methods should be taken, but every teacher should widen his arsenal of different teaching methods. On the other hand, the mixture of to many methods can confuse the average student to an extend where she or he is unable to follow the topic, which itself is new to her or him. Therefore, the emphasis of the lessons is laid on traditional teaching methods which are spiced up with alternatives way of teaching where I found those to be appropriate.

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Structure of lesson plan

Every lesson plan follows the preparing structure provided by Mr. Kofi Abbam, Head of the Science Department at Vittin Technical School in Tamale. Thus, the average Ghanaian teacher shouldn't have any problems to follow it. Nevertheless, for teachers from other countries the structure of the lesson plan should be described here, briefly.

Every lesson plan contains seven sections, consisting of topic, instructional objectives, reference books, teaching and learning aids to be used, students previous knowledge, presentation of lessons or methodology and remarks.

Topic: States the topic of the lesson, which in this case is always connected with malaria.

Instructional objectives: States the aims and goals of a lesson, concerning cognitive, practical or social knowledge, abilities or skills the students should be able to reach within the lesson.

Reference books: As most of the reference books used for background information are listed in "References (in German)", only the most important are mentioned in this section.

Teaching and learning aids to be used: This section mentions the books, materials and objects needed for the teaching of the lesson. Wherever possible references to GAST Biology are made.

Students previous knowledge: At this place a teacher normally writes done what the students already know. However, as I am not teaching the classes myself, the basic knowledge a student needs to follow the lesson is stated.

Presentation of lesson or methodology: This point elaborates on the structure of the lesson as well as on methods used during the lesson. However, the method may only be mentioned as it is explained in a different lesson already. Special care is given to the introduction of the lesson, the development of the period in steps including teacher and student activity, possible assignments, and every lesson finishes with a conclusion, which repeats the main point(s).

Remarks: Additional hints or ideas as well as difficulties a teacher would face during the lesson due to use of materials or the topic itself are mentioned here.

All in all, the seven sections of the lesson plan should enable the teacher to understand and teach a lesson, provided he knows the backgrounds of the lesson which may be stated elsewhere.

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Short overview of available lessons and elements

This short overview should enable the interested teacher to get an overview over the provided lessons and the single elements which can be incorporated in a teacher's own lesson. The actual lessons in different document formats can be found under "Materials", where some additional suggestions are provided.

Life cycle of malaria (Primary): This lesson provides the teacher with the material to teach about the life cycle of malaria in a very basic way. It may therefore be appropriate for primary school classes, or classes with slow understanding.

Life cycle of malaria (Junior Secondary): This lesson provides the teacher with the material to teach about the life cycle of malaria with an emphasis of parasitic development in humans. Due to the clear graphics and the easy to understand reading text it is suited best for the JSS level.

Life cycle of malaria (GAST Biology): This lesson provides the teacher with a text to the figure on page 187 of the GAST Biology book, as well as with some ideas about how to teach the lesson.

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Comments, suggestions or corrections, especially from Ghanaians, people from the teaching field or in malaria research to mattgig@freesurf.ch are most welcome.

Matthias Giger, August 1999 (Update: 30.01.2002)