Questions...Part 9 (and final one for a while)

Hoping for some good family news today. So blogging will be light for a while. When I come back I'll return to the topic of Ed Schools, so we'll wrap up this series on informal Nigerien teacher residencies.

Mrs. Kombo wrote:

Fofo Mike, Oh, WOW! This (peer tutoring) email is so incredibly well explained and clear. You must be a great teacher! Thank you soooo much! Aren't we lucky to be getting free "teacher training" all the way from Boston and from the founder of Match School in person! Concerning peer tutoring, we will naturally keep you posted on our progress once the school year begins next October. Encore une fois, merci beaucoup!

My reaction: 1. I've never been a schoolteacher. But I have learned a fair amount by watching good ones... 2. How does she know an expression like "sooooo" in her 4th language?

Anyway, she'd asked for some teaching guides. I sent her Booklet 3 from MATCH Teacher Residency, "Executing The Tight 56-Minute Lesson." I thought our team's first draft last year was good, but Orin worked on it this fall and it's even better now. Still, I wrote:

I'm not sure how much this will help, because I worry that the cultural references will make this hard to read! It is informal and targeted to be entertaining to 22 year olds training to be teachers. But you might get a few interesting ideas.

Cultural references include Whack A Mole and Amish Teen Dating. Soooo...not sure how that will translate.

Mrs. Kombo replied:

Except for the 5-star-meal, cultural references did NOT make this hard to read. Every single idea in this booklet is interesting and useful. Everything is so well explained and in such a practical way. That is exactly the kind of material we need.

In fact, I would like to translate and adapt this booklet, or at least parts of it, to our context. May we ask for your authorization to do that? And what about the rest of the material? Would it be at all possible for us to order the complete set you give to your 22 year old trainees? One question : what do teachers do with the collected TTL papers? They correct them? Grade them? Hand them back next time they see the students? Go over them in class? If so, how?

I asked if she'd translate in Zarma. Nope. She explained:

Actually, Mike, the translation was going to be in French! I can read and write Zarma because I learned it as a foreign language. Our Nigerien teachers whose mother tongue is Zarma are not really good at reading and writing it because in our schools the language of instruction is French! (This is precisely what I'm trying to avoid at all costs in our school : producing bilingual illiterates!) So, perhaps the copy you'll get won't be as precious a "heirloom" as the Zarma version, but it'll still be French "à la sauce nigerienne" so to speak!

When we started working on our teacher training materials, we created four characters :

Alkaouali, the rookie English teacher (male) Boukari, the seasoned French teacher (male) Salmou, the experienced Biology teacher (female) Kalla, the principal of the school (male)

It is through these characters who often get together in the teachers' room to discuss various topics (!) that we deliver our material! We've come to notice that our teachers have an easier time understanding what we are trying to put across if we proceed in this way.

The teachers you train are bright students from your best universities. Our trainees come to us because, in their vast majority, they have either failed their graduate studies or haven't been able to even get that far! So, whereas you are dealing with " la créme de la crème" so to speak, we are dealing with people who need to learn everything from scratch.

I'm explaining this to you, so that you understand why your booklet 3 will be taking this form (see enclosed draft) at Hampaté Bâ!