The advanced students are on their way to Dar es Salaam and we can’t wait to hear about their adventures! They’ve worked so hard to prepare for the Africa Open Schools Debate Championship. The last day before they left, the team practiced in front of the rest of the Safari English Club. One of the debate topics is particularly relevant to Zanzibari students: This House Believes that the Use of Swahili as the primary language for Education in Tanzania will Enhance the Quality of Learning Content… this is one of the big challenges that students in deprived rural communities face – English language teaching is so poor that it limits what students can learn about other subjects, which have to be taught in English, in spite of the limitations of the teachers. People from the village of Unguja Ukuu hardly ever visit the mainland – the students in the debate team are leaving the island for the first time. It will also be the first time the students see sky scrapers and go on a ferry. There’s some extra money in the budget for them to visit a few tourist attractions while they’re in the city.
We’re delighted that volunteer Chloe is back in Zanzibar and is accompanying the team to Dar es Salaam. The parents of the girls in the debate team are happier that they have a female teacher with them. Chloe is delighted to be back in Unguja Ukuu for the month of April – she’s impressed with the increasing confidence of the students and how hard they are working.
We now employ four local teachers, all of whom have been trained by Gasica at ZL4LF. Khamis is the latest recruit to join the Zanzibar Schools Project teaching English in Unguj Ukuu. He’s been studying English for 5 years now and started in Form One as he knew he’d need English to pass his exams. He came to ZL4LF and met Gasica and other great English speakers which inspired him to work as hard as possible and follow his dream to become an English teacher himself. He now teaches beginners at ZL4LF and is guiding the Beginner 2 class at Unguja Ukuu through the fun and pitfalls of the English language.
Khamis understands what it’s like to be a beginner and was at first very shy at speaking English. He learnt a lot of his English through watching films and interviews, and by reading books. He says that slowly his confidence increased. He now takes the opportunity to converse with English speakers whenever he can and is keen to bring these techniques into the classroom at Unguja Ukuu. Khamis is a great teacher and is a natural with children. “I love teaching at Safari English Club because I myself was given the opportunity to learn English for free and now it’s my time to give back to the community”. Khamis believes that learning English is for everyone, not just children and he welcomes young and old students alike. “I want to help the students at Unguja Ukuu learn English and have fun on the way!”
It's now the rainy season in Zanzibar. But it doesn’t stop Gasica and the teachers reaching the village in the Rav 4…here they are navigating the rains to reach the village. Gasica has just returned from the second part of his Management Course in Arusha that’s designed for Tanzanian headmasters. He enjoys both the live training and the follow up personal study. Highlights this time were learning more about motivating his team (we think he could teach that himself), achieving SMART objectives and communications. As usual, Gasica has been busy sharing his new knowledge with the team at Zanzibar Learning 4 Life Foundation.