Learning from Shaping the Way We Teach English Webinar Courses

Learner Perspective

Abou Hamady Sow has been teaching in the West African country of Mauritania for over ten years. Two years ago, Mr. Sow was sent by the Ministry of Education to teach in Nouakchott, the capital city. Since then, he has become one of the most active participants in ECA programs offered through the U.S. Embassy in Nouakchott; particularly the Shaping the Way We Teach English Webinar course.

The online course is one of the most successful programs offered to teachers in Nouakchott. During each session, twenty teachers come to the U.S. Embassy to participate in interactive international presentations. In a country where most teachers do not even have email addresses, it has been an excellent experience for the teachers to participate in these technology-savvy workshops. The topics presented in the webinars have exceedingly met the interests and needs of the teachers. One of the highlights of the workshops has been the interaction throughout the webinar where teachers from every continent make comments and contributions to the topic of discussion.

Mr. Sow uses ideas from the webinars to enrich his curriculum. “Sharing experiences with other teachers has really increased my skills as a teacher,” says Sow. "I attended the webinar about listening and then I tried to implement the techniques in my classroom and it was successful because the students were really involved and I was able to capture the attention of every student in the class.”

“I think we should have more opportunities like this because it will really help us improve our ways of teaching,” says Mr. Sow.

Many teachers in Mauritania are sent to teach in isolated areas for many years without receiving any in-service training. They are hungry for resources and ideas to revitalize their teaching practices. The Shaping the Way We Teach English webinar course is helping to fill this immense gap.

“I learn from teaching and getting in touch with students,” says Sow, who feels he has made a significant impact on his students. So much so that many former students are now following in his footsteps by training to become teachers themselves.

The webinar has helped ensure that Mr. Sow’s classes better meet the needs and interests of Mauritanian youth. Perhaps one day these students, as future teachers, will participate in webinars too.

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