Today I met with a group of students of Markham District High School to discuss their participation in a language development program for our secondary school ABCD Tanzanian students.
These students do learn English in secondary school but the opportunity to practice and improve the skills introduced in their in-class lessons is limited. What better way to improve their English writing and reading skills than to engage in correspondence with high school students in Canada! Yes it sounds like ‘pen pals’, and it is, but with a big difference.
The Canadian high school students will sensitively correct and edit the Tanzanian student’s letters, sometimes with the help of their teachers, and send the corrected version of the Tanzanian letter back with their own letters to their new friends. The correspondence will be addressed from school to school so that the teachers of the students can be involved, but it is hoped that lasting long distance friendships can evolve with a sharing of knowledge about each others cultures and languages.
A help line email connection is available to the Canadian students to assist them in becoming effective English mentors for their Tanzanian friends, and they have been counselled about sensitivity when broaching topics such as health and poverty/affluence awareness.