Although English is the official language in The Gambia most children grow up speaking one of the tribal languages. As English is the primary language spoken in secondary education and in business it is essential that children start learning as soon as possible. Many of the parents have little or no English, especially women.
Phonics is an interactive method of teaching English involving actions and sounds associated with letters and words. Many schools in the UK use it and The Gambian government is now looking to introduce it in all government funded junior schools, however, this will be a very slow process and does not extend to infant schools.
In June ‘07 we visited another infant school in The Gambia that uses phonics, with Jeddah’s head teacher Lamin Saho. We were all very impressed with the standard of teaching and the children’s English and Lamin was very keen to bring phonics to his school.
Since then Nyodema has worked with the approved trainer Sainey Gibba to provide training for the teachers at both the infant school and the junior school next door.
“On subsequent visits to the schools we have been very impressed with how quickly the teachers and the children are progressing. There has been excellent feed-back from the teachers who have suggested that other schools in the area would also benefit from the training.” Kathryn
Training for teachers from other infant schools in the Brikama area has been organized to coincide with our June ‘09 visit. This will be Nyodema’s fourth Phonics course. Nyodema has also provided over-sized “Jolly Phonics” books and other teaching aids for all the schools that take part in the training.
For more photographs of Nyodema’s projects in The Gambia please click here.