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Saturday, January 28, 2012

The end of the first semester... already?

For those who are joining me from my post in "The New Ghanaian", akwaaba!

All in all, this blog was inspired by my current teaching project with IFESH. So though I may have other posts that brag about my good time in Ghana, I'm really here on a mission to impact the teacher-training system and by God's grace, I think it's coming together.

We had 3 weeks of Christmas break, a week and half of classes then 2 weeks of end-of-semester exams. We're going on a 4 week semester break starting next Saturday. Ghanaians know how to break paaaaa.....
Anywho, the anxiety level was up after the relaxing aponkye Christmas break because I only had two weeks to  finish up the syllabus and it was a bit frantic. The last section I had to go over was voice articulation and pronunciation. I took a semester course on that subject in undergrad so I was pulling my hair out at the fact I had to get these English-as-a-second-language speakers how to understand the International Phonetic Alphabet in 5 days.... But God is good and I worked my tush off. I was able to wrap up the semester smoothly and plus my students had an 'aha' moment. Okay, so many Ghanaians pronounce the word "bath" as "baf". I was using the consonant sound "th" in the word "bath" as an example in class. They needed help differentiating the voiced and voiceless "th" sound. So finally I broke the difference down with the words: "bath" and "bathe". My goodness. See the exclamation in the classroom that day. I don't think they have used the word "bathe" before. And I don't think they used the "th" sound in that sense. It was hilarious. They were all insulting their primary school teachers at incorrectly teaching them how to pronounce the word "bath". By the by, "bath" uses the voiceless dental fricative and "bathe" uses the voiced dental fricative.

All in all, nothing compared to the satisfaction I felt when I watched my students leave the exam hall beaming with joy. They all clambered around me to shake my hand and thank me as they said the exam was very easy for them and they felt very confident in their performance. That, was a good feeling. With very limited resources and somewhat, little time, I was able to do what I intended to do. And that was to get my students to begin to understand how English language works, not just memorize the basics to get by on the exam. I feel like if I was to ask a student to identify how a direct object works in a sentence, they would be able to do it with ease and proper explanation. And they would no longer say "baf".

And that m'dear, would let me know my presence here is worthwhile.


Anonymous said...

Remember we talked about the ageism thing, working as a teacher in Ghana? Has that been an issue for you so far? Did you have to prove yourself in order to teach the teachers you're teaching?

Ama Kyei said...

@ Yedei- new post to follow up!

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