Working in conjunction with my colleagues from Tanzania and the Congo (Democratic Republic), we designed a Colloquium Session titled, “The English Language Club Movement: Transforming Lives Across Africa“, in which we aimed to present on aspects from our three different countries as they apply individually to the work we are doing in our respective locations. Submitting the Proposal for inclusion at TESOL 2016, we just received word of acceptance, and will be presenting in early April at the International Convention in Baltimore!
Approaching the topic from distinct platforms, we will be looking at the roles of English Clubs as they pertain to issues associated with gender equality, LGBT rights, Refugee programs that promote Democracy, as well as various other youth movements which are sustained by these dynamic marginalized learning opportunities created across Africa. The functions of these clubs are an integral part of learning and community engagement about issues ranging from English language attainment to conflict resolution, and their significance cannot be overstated. With the four of us presenting over the course of a two-hour session, we will also have students from our respective countries in attendance as well, offering personal views and experiences on how their lives have truly been transformed.
From my particular end, I will be speaking about the Women’s English Club I began last year in Ethiopia, and will be continuing upon my return next week. Creating an outlet at my University where female students can address issues regarding the obvious gender inequality taking place not only in education but across the social, professional and political landscape, our collective experiences have been a rewarding challenge while generating empowerment through a number of different means. Learning in a traditional setting certainly has its advantages, but education which takes place outside the realm of the classroom can oftentimes have a longer-lasting impact.
To work with such esteemed colleagues such as my Boss, Scott (Tanzania), Senior Fellow, Bryce (DRC), and Fulbright Scholar, Dr. Kathy, is an honor for me, and something which I know I will learn from for my future endeavors, wherever they may be. Clearly we are excited about our acceptance but at the same time understand that this opportunity to present is not about us but rather it is about those students we are able to reach, from the Highlands of Ethiopia to the shores of Zanzibar to the Jungles of the Congo; helping to provide others with learning opportunities where indeed, The World is Our Classroom!
TESOL 2016 is the largest International Convention of its type within the field of ESL in which I teach, and something which is an honor to be selected for. Our particular presentaion will be held on Thursday, April 7th from 3 – 5pm in Room 350 at the Baltimore Convention Center.