Excellence in English

Sisia Campus lower primary teachers and new English Ambassadors (L to R) Isaka B. Silomba, Elineema Kileo, Grace Saguma, ESOL teacher Mel Lamus, lower primary headmaster George Stephen, Emmanuel Augustine, Bertha Claud, Alfred Rwatamabanga and Ruth Kyata.

Seven savvy and enthusiastic lower primary teachers have been chosen as English “champions” for St Jude’s lower and upper primary school.

The teachers all achieved a “good” mark for their use of English in the classroom, when evaluated by ESOL (English for Speakers of Other Languages) teacher Mel Lamus at the beginning of the year.

Lower primary headmaster George Stephen has officially named them English Ambassadors for the school.

“English is a second language in Tanzania and a medium of instruction at St Jude’s. Those facts make staff use it specifically for that purpose only, and not otherwise,” George said.

“The thought to have English ambassadors was to bring awareness to all staff that English is also a medium of communication at St Jude’s.”

The four achievable English categories range from Unsatisfactory and Some Improvement Needed, to Good and Outstanding.  

Mel also noted the “good” level of English skills of four accomplished upper primary teachers, in both teaching in the classroom and supporting the students’ English language development.

“It is hoped that all of these teachers will act as role models of English for both students and colleagues,” she said.

“One of the teachers, Emmanuel, has twice already let me know of two different mobile phone apps that he uses for learning English and I have passed this on to all the teachers.”

English Ambassador and Lower Primary Librarian Isaka B. Silomba said he was proud to be given the title and found ESOL helpful in improving his English skills.

“It means a lot. Although it’s not our mother tongue, being able to speak it is good,” he said.

“Knowing English is one thing, but being able to speak it takes practice. Being in a school where you speak only English helps a lot to develop that ability. We learn from our ESOL teacher but also from the material we have. We read a lot from the UK, US, New Zealand and Australia. It’s something enjoyable.”

George said the response to the English Ambassadors idea has been positive, and everyone is looking forward to seeing how effective it will be.

“They will achieve the respect from their fellow staff and appreciation from school for being good models for other staff,” he said.

The ambassadors were awarded certificates for their efforts.

Mel is the third teacher to take part in the five years the ESOL program has run at St Jude’s. It is currently compulsory for all teachers, except the English Ambassadors, to attend.

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