lundi, août 28, 2006

Reflections on teaching my home tongue in a strange land

I am quickly made aware of the fact that everybody wants to learn English around here. I’m surprised at how eager they are, and how important my home tongue is in this country. But I am told that job opportunities are becoming scarce without English.

To begin with I am confused about what teaching method to use. I don’t know as yet the numbers that will be in my class, I don’t know what levels, in fact I don’t know a thing. I notice that everything is so formal here and so I guess the education system is the same. I wonder whether I’m going to have to face the enemy educational systems of ROTE learning and dictations and classrooms packed with desks in nice neat rows and silent students that raise their hands to utter a few words.

I start teaching – and learning.

First is Ecole Actuelle – a university run by a local NGO ‘CACSUP.’ The university is set up to offer courses in Telecommunications, IT, Transport & Logistics, Accounting, and other courses which are not available at the major university. I learn that the education system, still suffering from remnants of colonial ignorance, is copying the French and offering courses in psychology, philosophy, and linguistics, yet nothing in fields which are actually needed in the country.

Second is CERAPE – an NGO which specializes in research on economic and social development. We are learning about adjectives, I have written a load of adjectives on the white board, they create sentences using these adjectives. They start spitting out gems. ‘Our country is rich, but our leaders are foolish.’

Finally we have started a class here at the AZUR office for absolute beginners.

From this final group of beginners I am learning something very important. I am learning how hard English is.

Next week I will start classes with my last group – Medicins d’Afrique. I’m very excited about this one, as I have been sick of late with a flu, and I can’t think of anyone better to be hanging around with than a bunch of doctors.

Note: As for the question of teaching methods and formalities, I learn quickly to give a bit and take a bit. I write a formalized structure for the course with dates, and topics, and assignments – and then in fine print at the bottom a small note ‘But remember nothing is static, not even a rock, we will be changing with the wind.’ My teaching methods have even managed to make my students surprised at the fact that I haven’t taught English before. I am loving teaching, and the students appear to be loving learning. All is good.




1 commentaire:

MILAND a dit…

WELCOME
GREAT PRAYER FOR YOUTH AROUND HERE.
THIS IS A GREAT OPPORTUITY TO IMPROVE, BETTER and PERFECT OUR ENGLISH. I JUST BELIEVE YOU'LL DO WELL.

THANKS