Last week, Anne Dominique, the Belgian girl, left and this week i had to take on teaching all of her classes. We’re talking 7 of 2 groups each, ages range from 5 to 13 years old. I have to admit I was nervous, teaching is one thing but teaching a French class where the students don’t really understand french and worse the 5 year olds where you have to basically sing and make them laugh for 30 mins….. OH GOG!!!

What am I going to sing? What am I going to teach, the first class I gave was to the older kids and I was nervous and sweating from everywhere…. But it turns out that teaching is really a sink or swim activity and this week I swam and I not only swam but I really really enjoyed it. The kids love to participate and they are very well disciplined.

The major problem here is that the government switched from French to Malagasy so many times that the people have no idea in which direction they’re going. Many that it was a ploy to keep people ignorant and ill educated in order to better manipulate them.

All math and any other science book is only available in French due to the fact that no effort has been placed towards translating them to Malagasy. The result is that kids don’t really understand French and then you can see how good their chances are of understanding Fourrier series are when explained in French. To top things off the teachers teaching them science and even French don’t really understand French themselves.

I see it when the older girls ask physics questions. “Masse M de brique sans friction glisse sur un incline. Prendre l’axe des Z comme parallélogramme de l’incline et résoudre en fonction. » So of course we’re talking about the classic block sliding down an inclined slope of angle Φ, but if I hadn’t seen it 100 times I would be very confused.

Children here are taught to repeat and not necessarily to think when they answer questions. This week we had an introductory class, so all the questions you ask someone when you first meet them. I had one column on the board with questions and the other with the answers and 2 kids would come up to the front and pretend they had just met:
-Comment t’appelles-tu?
_Je m’appelle Olivier.
-Où habites-tu ?
_J’ai 8 ans….

Non, Olivier écoute la question, où habites-tu ?

_Ah, j’habite à Betafo.

This is just one example to show that in general they seem more preoccupied with making sure the kids pronounce things properly rather than understand what they are saying… I have one french class per week with the teachers at which point i brought up this point and the following day they seemed to make a valiant effort at comprehension during my class.

Anyhow, so far so good, the kids seem to enjoy their time with me and I’m starting to sweat less and less which is good because I think last week I had B.O. …… which is just unacceptable.


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