One of the sessions that I attended at the TESOL Convention last March was about English Clubs in Africa. The growth has been remarkable and there are now more than 35,000 English Club members in Africa! Kathleen Malu, from the U.S. State Department, has been working on this project. She was unable to attend the convention, but I was able to meet an extraordinary young English teacher and English Club founder from Senegal, West Africa - Seydou Sy Obama.
Here is my wonderful interview with the inspirational Seydou!
Patrice: Can you tell us where you teach and how long you have been teaching?
Thank you very much for giving me the chance to share my experience with teachers around the world. I am teaching in Senegal, West Africa and have been teaching since October 2015.
P: I understand that English Club membership is growing in Africa. When did you start your English Club in Senegal?
S: I discovered English Clubs in my first year in middle school in 2005. Our English teacher told us about English Clubs and it was the first time I had ever heard about them. He also said that only the three best students in each class could take part in the club. Fortunately, I had the best mark so I joined the club and became a very active member.
My love for the English language kept growing during the next three years so I was recognized as the most involved English Club member in my city. I ha
I had a passion for English but as my country is French-speaking, there was no place where students could speak English. I had to find a way for people to develop our language skills so I created the “Work Together English Club” in 2008. It took me one year to have a meeting with more than five people. That's the reason why the Work Together started its activities in late 2009.
P: What is the purpose of English Clubs?
S: The purpose of an English Club is to shape the leaders of tomorrow and develop committed citizens.
P: You mentioned in your presentation at TESOL that English Clubs are more than just learning English and that you focus on leadership skills, community development and participation of girls. Am I missing anything?
S: You are right. English Clubs are doing more than just providing a place where young people can learn and practice English. I would like your readers to know that English Clubs are training leaders and model citizens. Not all members of the English Club will become teachers but each member will do something different in the future and everyone will have a role to play in our community as citizens. English Clubs prepare them for challenges in life.
P: If teachers are interested in starting English Clubs in their country, where can they find resources and information?
S: I have some resources I can share with teachers who want to start English Clubs in their country. Teachers can contact me at http://firstname.lastname@example.org I can collaborate with them and share a booklet about my English Club which showcases all the different activities we are organizing. I am happy to share resources. Teachers can also download a resource here https://americanenglish.state.gov/files/ae/resource_files/englishclubmembermanualmalu2.1.2016.pdf
P: Thank you so much for talking about your English Club. All the best!
Update on last week's Blog Post - Conference Presenter: Yes, Maybe or Never?
Last week I wrote about presenting at TESL/TESOL conferences and wondered why so few teachers are interested in presenting (https://www.patricepalmer.ca/blog/conference-presenter-yes-maybe-or-never). I set up a very short survey to find out some of the reasons for the reluctance. Here are the results:
Q: If you haven't presented at a conference, is this something that you would like to do in future?
Yes 46.15% Never! 7.69% Maybe 46.15%
Q: If you are not interested in presenting at conferences, what is the number one reason?
Too busy 10.00%
Afraid to present in front of colleagues 20.00%
I don't feel like I have the skills or expertise 35.00%
Don't want to go through the trouble of putting in a proposal only to be rejected
Not sure what to present
So it seems that there is a very small number of teachers (7.69%) who will never present at a conference. This is lower than I thought. I do understand that many teachers just do not have time (10%) or feel nervous presenting in front of colleagues (20%) however what is most surprising is that 35% of teachers do not feel like they have the skills/expertise to be a conference presenter. What do you think we could do to help teachers develop the skills or feel that they have something worthwhile to share at TESL/TESOL conferences? Let me know what you think.
Happy Teaching! Patrice
Online Resources Library
Many teachers I know love to use TEDTalks in their lessons. We know that teachers are busy people and that preparing a great lesson using a TEDTalk takes time. Sapna Sehgal (a fellow Canadian living in Spain) has developed a wonderful resource that includes 25 lessons based on TEDTalks. Check out the resource here http://courses.teachingcove. com/?affcode=91807_vcfgsnff. If you would like a free sample of the full first TED Talk Lesson Plan and introduction in this resource, head to Sapna's Printables Library and download it from the April 2017 section https://www. teachingcove.com/printables- library/
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My name is Patrice Palmer, OCELT, M.Ed., M.A. I have 20 years’ experience as an ESL Teacher, TESL Trainer, and Curriculum Writer in Canada including 7 amazing years in Hong Kong. I have taught students from 8 to 80 years in a variety of programs such as ESP, EAP, Business English, and language programs for new immigrants in Canada. I now work as a teacherpreneur http://www. teacherpreneur.ca doing the things that I love such as writing courses, blogging, sharing teaching materials, and instructional coaching for new teachers. Having a flexible schedule allows me to conduct short-term training around the world at any time of the year. Download resources at http://www.patricepalmer.ca
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