Bonjour Mrs. Kombo, Well thank you for that background. I read it to my colleague and we found your and Adamou's story very interesting. English is your fourth language! Wow.
I'm not sure where exactly to jump in, but
1. Internet is expensive, I understand. And electricity is on and off.
But have you experimented with students learning with computers, using software to teach basic French reading skills?
I realize this would be costly, but given the challenge of both training teachers and then keeping them on staff, I'm curious what your experience, if any, has been.
2. Have you ever visited a high-performing high-poverty school....in Niger, France, England?
I wonder if these folks might be helpful to you. Ark has middle schools in England that serve children who arrive with very low skills. I think I could make an introduction if it would be helpful. Perhaps you could travel there.
3. Would it be okay to post a few of your questions online for some colleagues? I think we can get some ideas for you, maybe from someone else who has worked in an African school with similar challenges.
4. Our middle school has kids who arrive, like yours, with very low reading skills. My questions probably would boil down this way:
a. Dosage. Can you significantly increase the amount of time spent on teaching French basic reading? Our 6th grade cuts a lot of other curriculum that year, like science and history, and teach English for 3 hours a day. I'd try to attack the low reading skills problem as the main focus on Grade 6.
b. Talent. If I could get one good teacher who would stick with my school for a while, I'd want him/her to be Grade 6 French basics. Do you have someone who you think is both there for the long term, who you can invest in training? Can you seek out the BEST teacher in the area who teaches, for example, Grade 3? Often teachers of younger students know something about acquiring literacy.
c. Curriculum. Is there a packaged French literacy acquisition curriculum you can use?
d. Peer tutoring. Is there any way to deploy top students to help weaker students?