"Work Together"- The English club which shapes leaders and develops committed citizens in
Hi Seydou. You run the English club ‘’Work together’’. What is the purpose of the English club?
Thank you very much for this opportunity. It is an honour to speak to the world about English club and more to the point; about its purpose in our times. I have been involved in English clubs for thirteen years now and I must say that English club is a special gathering of people from different social, ethnic and religious backgrounds. The purpose of English club is to practice English. English clubs in Senegal and across Africa are doing more than just learning and practising English, they are shaping leaders and developing committed citizens by training their members with the skills that are needed to move Africa forward.
Do you intend to cooperate with teachers from other countries and work on projects to bring positive changes in our communities?
We are firm believers of unity and cooperation. We are convinced that ‘’no one is an island’’ and we all need help in our individual efforts. That is to say that, cooperating with teachers from other countries is what the doctor ordered. Variety is the spice of life. Sharing experience and working with other people on projects will help us discover other cultures and ways of life. As the saying goes, “many hands make light work”.
You are an English teacher from Senegal. What would you like to tell our readers about teaching English in your country? What challengers do you face in your daily work?
As a young and new teacher, I may not be the right man to tell your readers much about teaching English in Senegal. But through the time I have been a student, a club leader or just through the couple years I have taught English; I can tell you that teachers of English and the students in our country have an unconditional love for the English language even though French is our official language. People love English, they have a passion for it. Educators of English in Senegal are more than teachers. They are true leaders and they are my heroes.
There are many challenges that we face in our daily work, which include the ambiguity of language. Most students speak their mother tongue at school, in the streets and at home and they are too often reluctant to express themselves in English. This makes it hard for us to develop certain language skills. The other main challenge is the lack of materials. We all know that teaching language requires materials and I feel I should thank the Regional English Language Office (RELO/US Embassy) for their continued support. They help teachers in many different ways, in fact they exemplify what we mean by the word PARTNER.
You were one of the speakers at TESOL 2017 in Glasgow. What message did you want to put across to our colleagues?
The message I want to put across to our colleagues and to everybody, is that whatever good thing we do in life, we will sooner or later be rewarded. My message to teachers is this: be creative and find a way to translate your vision and passion into reality. Through English club, which is my passion, and through my participation in TESOL 2017, I can live my dreams. Today my highest dream is for us to become international and that will soon be a reality. When that dream comes true, I will stand up with pride and say ‘’I started with a micro-initiative called English club’’
Thank you, Seydou!
You can read the whole interview with Seydou Obama in the June issue of
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