This was my third trip to Rwanda and once again, it was a pleasure to help with English language teaching in Bugarama.
We were greeted in Kamembe by some old friends including Wellars, Jean and Georgine. It was great to see all of them again. We took taxis from Kamembe to Bugarama and settled in to our accommodation. On my previous visits, we had stayed at St. Francoise, but this time we stayed in a house in Bugarama. On the one hand, this meant that we didn’t have to spend an hour or so travelling from St. Francoise to Bugarama each day, which made things easier. Not that it was a bad commute of course…. Travelling through the Rwandan countryside with sweeping views over the hills is quite a good way to travel to work every day!
As with previous visits, the emphasis was on building the teachers’ communicative competence by focussing on grammar and vocabulary and then using speaking activities to allow them to make active use of the language which they had learned. Between 10 and 25 teachers attended each day. The lowest attendance was on the first Friday, which was due to heavy rain and the highest attendance was on the final day.
Overall, this was an enjoyable visit. It was really good to see that there had been improvements in the level of English of some of the teachers, especially the lower level ones. It was also good to see how much progress had been made on the building works, especially at Mirabura school which is now very different to the first time I visited it in 2015.
Ideas for the future
Continued English Language support for teachers. Not only teachers from Muko, but also other teachers in the future
A focus on methodology used for teachers with a higher level of English
Collaborative teaching with a native speaker
Provision of teaching resources such as flashcards and dictionaries with the possible creation of a self-study area for teachers to improve their level of English in their own time
Of course, the ideal would be to have a teacher present at the school for a longer period of time who could be involved in providing English language support to pupils and teachers.
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