Working to improve learning outcomes in English and Mathematics for 4.2 million children in Rwanda
A really big book! By Yvonne Mukanyatanyi

Teacher Yvonne attending Students in classroom

My name is Yvonne Mukanyatanyi, a P1 – P3 English teacher at Ecole Primaire Kivomo in Muhanga sector, Muhanga District. I have been an English teacher for two years now. I have been involved with the Building Learning Foundations programme since 2018. Using the English toolkit book, audio and video is helping me and my colleagues to improve our English teaching practice. I was also involved in filming for the second toolkit and the pilot for the English Pupil activity books. It was a very exciting session for me, given the fact that it was the very first time I was involved in such an activity, and the pupils really liked the activities!

When I went through the first toolkit orientation, I was a newcomer to teaching.  We underwent our orientation in April 2018 and I enjoyed it. There was a lot to understand in just one day. But when I saw the English book, I thought it was a really big book and I was worried that it was so difficult that I could not do it all. After the orientation on how to use the toolkits, I knew that it was important for me to do some self-study. I knew the toolkit was something that would help improve my teaching, so I read one unit a month. I did not have to work alone because, in our school, we have Community of Practice (CoP) meetings. I could read by myself first and then in the CoP meeting I discussed with my colleagues; we practised units together and it really encouraged me given my poor language proficiency.

I listened to the audios and found ideas of how to teach with simple vocabulary that would assist the learners, and also it helped me with my English pronunciation.

 

All the units in the English book are important for teaching English, but my favourite unit is about encouraging and praising children. I am a P1 to P3 teacher so it is important to praise young children. Before BLF I didn’t know so much about praising children. Now, I have some ideas for making them try hard and for encouraging them, even when they get things wrong. It makes the children learn well and they are happy.

 

Some of my class pupils were involved in the filming for the English book toolkit two. I was very proud to be chosen to participate in the filming. BLF’s Sector Learning Facilitator (SLF), had been to my school and observed some of my lessons. He noticed that my English was quite good, and he knew that I was using the BLF English toolkit book and it was helping me improve my English language and classroom teaching. I was using pair work and group work and I was trying to speak a lot of English in my lessons. I enjoy motivating learners, so I was not really nervous about the filming. I am not only here for teaching, I like to do other things and I want to help other teachers to develop, too.

 

I am looking forward to the next toolkit orientation. I’ve seen and piloted the English pupil books; they are beautiful and very helpful for pupils. They have coloured pictures and they match the topics from the Competence Based Curriculum (CBC). The vocabulary is at the right level for the pupils. It will be nice when we have these books.

 

I am very happy working with BLF and I think it has helped my teaching a lot. The BLF programme is equipping me to make my English lessons very interesting and make pupils love the English language. I am optimistic that with the tools availed to teachers of English, we will in a very short time improve the learning outcomes of our pupils at P1 to P3.

The Building Learning Foundations Programme (BLF) is a programme of the Rwanda Ministry of Education (MINEDUC) and Rwanda Education Board (REB); it is funded by the United Kingdom’s Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) as part of its Learning for all Programme in Rwanda.
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