Between 2007 and 2008, Robert, from Tanzania, attended the University of Lancaster. He completed an MA TESOL (Teachers of English to Speakers of Other Languages).
A former secondary school teacher, his thirst for knowledge and eagerness to improve the quality of his teaching led him to contact ELT (English Language Training) specialists in the neighbouring countries of Kenya and Uganda. As their bond grew so too did the network of ELT groups across East Africa.
“Through the group, many East African English language teachers benefited from sharing their expertise and knowledge through workshops; most of which were funded by ELTeCS [the British Council’s English Language Teaching Contacts Scheme] and Hornby Trust funds,” explains Robert, adding how he “diligently and enthusiastically participated in designing and organising projects for the group”.
The hard work paid off. His Curriculum Review and Teaching Writing in East Africa project won the ELTeCS Innovation Award in 2006.
Robert says that his learning experience in the UK has enabled him to deepen his knowledge of TESOL research and language teaching as a whole. His ability to contribute to the development of English language teaching has opened up a number of professional opportunities to him, including a lecturer role at the St Augustine University of Tanzania, where he has designed a course based on “state of the art” approaches to language teaching.
Success stories: Robert from Tanzania
“What was invested in me has a multiplier effect to Tanzanian Society”
He has also had a proposal accepted to turn the university’s Mtwara Centre into an “in-service training centre”, which will specifically target English language teachers in the marginalised south of Tanzania. Meanwhile, his research-backed facilitation paper looking at how the sexual practices of young people in Tanzania impacts on their development has been presented at the launch of the Civic Education Teacher’s Association.
“It has come forth as an agent for traditional values transformation in the area. This is an achievement beyond English language teaching”, he says.“ I owe the Hornby Trust and the British Council at large quite a lot. My scope of work has broadened. I wouldn’t have achieved that without such a benevolent assistance to further my education for the benefit of my country.”