Learning with Technology: A Day with a Student from Senegal
Mouhamadou Mansour Diallo, a 14-year-old youth from Senegal, is using a computer in his classroom for the first time this year. His English teacher, Abdoul Aziz Niang, traveled to the US last year to see firsthand how technology can be leveraged in the classroom.
Mr. Niang is an alumnus of the International Leaders in Education Program (ILEP). As a 2010 ILEP Fellow, Mr. Niang was among 84 secondary school teachers from around the world who traveled to the US for a five-month professional development program. During the program, Mr. Niang studied student-centered teaching methodologies and technology for instruction, and developed a teacher training module on best practices for interdisciplinary curriculum design.
He returned to his school in Soumbedioune, a neighborhood known for its fish market and vibrant arts outside of Dakar, the capital of Senegal, equipped with more teaching strategies and a network of international colleagues.
IREX recently interviewed one of Mr. Niang’s students, Mansour, to learn more about what a typical day is like for him and how his classroom experience has changed since Mr. Niang returned from the US.
What is your typical school day like?
On school days, I always get up at 6:30am, before leaving home at 7:30 since school starts at 8:00 and ends at 5:00pm. My parents never assign me chores before class. I walk to school, which is not far from our house. I carry all the books and classroom items I need with me.
We usually have four classes of two hours each in the day. My main subjects are Math, Physics, French, English, History, and Geography, in addition to Science, Physical education, and Arts. Math is my favorite subject. After school I go back home just to eat and come again to school in order to work in a group with my friends.
What is your class like?
There are 47 students in my classroom. The school is not very nice, but it is big and there is space for all of us.
Have you noticed a difference in Mr. Niang’s teaching style compared to before he participated on the ILEP program?
Mr. NIANG’s classes are much livelier now because everything is illustrated with videos which help us to understand easily. We also practice the language recording our own videos and getting feedback in order to correct mistakes or better our performances. In addition, we share a social network called WIGGIO in which many activities related to our lessons are posted.
We are happy since we are the only students in the school to learn this way; that makes us different from others. Last year we didn’t use computers in our classes. We were not equipped with computers before our teacher left for the ILEP program. Our school was fortunately given fifty laptops and other materials by USAID.
What do you and your friends talk about the most?
We mostly talk about school, news and girls.
What do youth in your community care about the most?
We care about peace, our future, the environment and our parents’ satisfaction. Most people my age dream of immigration. This is not my case because I believe I must stay home and help in the development of my country.