As part of a recent writing class, two teenagers put pen to paper to describe their first few weeks at Mungere School and how they began to learn English.
All secondary school lessons in Tanzania are taught in English while primary school classes are conducted in their native Swahili. This means that students can struggle at secondary school until they have mastered their new language.
Mungere School offers a revolutionary approach to this problem—all new students go through an English immersion program conducted over several months by native speakers.
Form III students Faustine Amiri and Mussa Benjamen described their nerves and doubts at the start of their secondary school education and how they learned English.
Read the personal narrative they wrote together here:
It was the morning of 16th of September 2013. Everybody was excited to be here in Mungere Secondary School. We were newcomers and we asked ourselves "will we ever be able to speak English as our dear brothers and sisters?"
We were not able to speak so we were given some weeks to study and learn English. We were struggling so much because we had to speak English as our language of communication here in Mungere Secondary School. Everybody was wondering, in his or her way, about being selected to deliver a morning talk in assembly in front of students who already knew how to speak English. They had English in their heads and we were worried they would be correcting all of our words as we were speaking.
The day came and passed when we had to deliver a morning talk and we were somehow good. We were also able to speak and write even a little English on our own. Once a teacher asked questions, we were able to volunteer to answer the questions but we were still not confident.
However the teachers could teach the ways of having confidence. How to speak in front of a class without hiding, using a book or looking down. This is how we got to know English and have confidence. During English class we did spelling competitions so we were able to write and speak grammatically well.
Also we asked our older students when we didn’t know something. We asked ourselves ‘how can we stay in school without being afraid of our teacher?’ Then we found that being friends with our teachers and asking questions made us smarter in class and academically successful.