You are a young child in Kenya.
You speak your tribal language in your early years.
Then you learn a new language. It is Swahili.
Now you can speak to people outside your own area.
Next, you learn a third language (English) at school.
No one around you speaks English.
In your home there are no English books.
There is no radio, no TV, no newspaper.
Your teachers must help you to read.
You write national exams at the end of Grade 8.
These exams decide your future in education.
Most of these exams are in English.
Challenges for teachers
Your classes are large. You might have 69 classmates.
You are afraid to read or speak in English.
But you do your best. You want to learn.
Teachers become students
Your English teachers go to seminars.
They learn new and interesting ways to teach you.
You try your answers with a partner. You speak in a small group.
You write chants and poems with new vocabulary.
English becomes easier. Now learning English can be fun.
Few Kenyan teachers have workshops to improve their skills.
In January 2011 and January 2012, expert elementary teachers
from the USA and Canada volunteered to help.
These volunteers taught strategies that teachers can use in rural schools.
Most of these schools are without power.
There are few teaching materials and books.
The success of workshops
Almost 200 teachers attended workshops.
This means that about 20,000 children were helped with English.
The volunteers will return.
Next time, they will train Kenyan teachers to give the workshops.
Last year, one teacher wrote, “It has been an eye-opener in my life
as a young teacher.”
A Canadian charitable organization
Tembo-Kenya sponsored the workshops for Kenyan teachers.
Tembo has been working in the area for over ten years.
It is a Canadian non-profit group based in Victoria, B.C.
Tembo volunteers want to make a difference in the world.
They want to help the children by helping their teachers.
See the slideshow for photos of the teachers learning and working.