Multilingual teaching resources: primary schools in The Gambia project (December 2021-August 2022) proposes to organise a one-week teacher-led education intervention in The Gambia. This project has three core components:
I. Four-day materials development workshop co-designed and co-delivered by three collaborators with relevant expertise:
- Dr Clyde Ancarno – Lecturer in Linguistics at King’s College London (UK) whose research focusses on multilingualism and multilingual education in The Gambia. Developer of the Multilingual Education in The Gambia platform.
- Kitabu Jabang – Chair of the Organisation for Training and Production of Literacy Materials/OTPLM (Gambia). Gambian language literacy expert with over 30 years of experience, including adult and children Gambian language literacy course design, bespoke material development (e.g. a grammar of Gambian Mandinka), and teacher training
- Dr Sabine Little – Lecturer in Languages Education at Sheffield University (UK) with many years of experience in curriculum design, supporting teachers in multilingual classrooms all over the world and developing and running her own project on multilingual resources in the classroom.
- Lamin Ceesay – Undergraduate Student at the University of The Gambia with experience of teaching in The Gambia. He is the project administrator of Multilingual teaching resources: primary schools in The Gambia. He has also worked as a research assistant on Dr Clyde Ancarno’s academic research projects into multilingual education in The Gambia.
The four primary teachers involved in this bespoke workshop will receive support in developing their own multilingual teaching resources (e.g. storybooks in several languages, multilingual posters, videos illustrating translanguaging pedagogical practices in classrooms) and in leading a one-day train the trainer event which will occur after the workshop.
II. One-day train the trainer event led by the four teachers after they have participated in the four-day workshop
The aim of this shorter event is to train trainers to facilitate workshops to support teachers in developing their multilingual teaching resources beyond the scope of the project. Attendees will include Gambian educators who might be interested in being trained, e.g. teacher trainers, literacy facilitators, curriculum developers.
III. Online toolkit for Gambian educators
The outcome and outputs of the four-day workshop and one-day train the trainer event will be used to develop an online toolkit showcasing examples of multilingual teaching resources which could be used by primary teachers in The Gambia. This toolkit will make it possible:
- for other resources to be added beyond the scope of the project
- for users to liaise with the three core collaborators beyond the scope of the project
- for prospective facilitators to access relevant training resources
The Multilingual teaching resources: primary schools in The Gambia project is crucially centred around the involvement of four highly motivated teachers who represent a rich and diverse range of teaching experiences. Our team of four teachers includes a diverse range of linguistic and cultural backgrounds, experience of teaching in urban and rural areas, and encompasses novice and experienced teachers alike.
The project therefore makes a timely contribution to current debates regarding the integration of Gambian languages in The Gambia’s otherwise English only education system. Many of those involved in this debate are motivated by the view that using children’s home language can facilitate content learning, promote a better learning experience in general and support the wellbeing of Gambian children by embracing their linguistic citizenship. This echoes key international education institutions’ established support for mother tongue teaching (e.g. UNESCO since the 1950s), while reflecting more recent endorsement among donors having previously been criticised for their hidden support for English language policies in post-colonial countries. This applies to the July 2021 report ’Loud and Clear: Effective Language of Instruction Policies for Learning by the World Bank, for example—largest education donor in The Gambia.
The Multilingual teaching resources: primary schools in The Gambia intervention was designed to be sustainable. The ways in which the development of multilingual teaching resources can continue beyond the scope of the project was therefore carefully considered. The one-day training is also open to a diverse range of participants, including teacher trainers, literacy facilitators, etc., in the hope that our four teachers as well as others will continue delivering workshops where they can support the development of multilingual teaching resources after the project ends. The online toolkit—with examples of material—is also about supporting the sustainability of the project.