On Monday, August 10, 2015, the Association of Teachers of English in Rwanda (ATER) Ngoma Chapter committee conducted the first workshop that gathered teachers of English in Ngoma District. The workshop was organized in order to boost English teaching profession in Ngoma district. English teachers who attended the workshop were mainly from primary and secondary schools, as well as vocational training centers. Their attendance was a surprise as 41 teachers attended the workshop as without any remuneration of their transport ticket from the very rural areas of the district of Ngoma. The workshop was graciously hosted by the Language center (the Center for Language Learning and Improvement [CAL]) of the Institute of Agriculture, Technology and Education of Kibungo (INATEK) and sponsored by ATER.
Introduction and welcome of the participants
The coordinator of the Association of Teachers of English (ATER) Ngoma chapter bided welcome to the participants and introduced the agenda of the workshop. The participants were requested to introduce themselves. Apart from the participants, guests from ATER headquarter introduced themselves to the participants. The guests included Mrs. Juliet from the community of practices Kicukiro and Mr. Sedar from Huye ATER community of practices.
- Presentation about ATER
Mrs. Juliet, the head of community practices of Kicukiro introduced the Association of Teachers of English in Rwanda (ATER) and explained its main activities in Rwanda. She mentioned that ATER is a non-profit organization aimed at boosting English education and research in Rwanda. She emphasized that ATER is exclusively for English teaching professional development and building a strong networking for English teachers as well as people or organization ready to help the advancement of English teaching profession in Rwanda.
- Questions and Answers session
The session of questions of answers was more vibrant than other previos sessions. The particpants asked many question related to the benefits of networking, whether ATER works with REB and some questions regarding requirement of becoming members. Mrs. Juliet and Mr. Sedar explained the benefit of networking by distributing flyers of the summary of benefits active networking which include carreer growth, strrenghening relationships among peopole who are doing the same job, getting fresh ideas from colleagues, raising your career profile, getting advices, information and support from peers, accessing to opportunitiesfor career advancement.
- Enhancing teachers’ communication skills (writing tips workshop)
Mr. Amini Ngabonziza Jean de Dieu presented the topic titled “Enhancing Teachers’ Communication Skills: writing tips”. He focused on writing tips, emphasizing the four basic skills in language learning, namely listening, speaking, reading and writing. He showed which skills are productive, receptive, oral and written. He explained how teachers can improve their writing using the “Wh-” words: what, who, why, when, which, where, etc. and write a complete paragraph. At the end of presentations, discussions were allowed. Then, he shared with his peers the writing activities that he learnt from Professor Aimable TWAGILIMANA during the previous ATER conference held in Muhanga sector at UCK.
In conclusion, Mrs. Juliet talked about teachers’ professional development. She reiterated that teachers need to create their own network and their own communities of practices in their Districts. She said teachers’ professional development is achieved through workshops, conferences, seminars, either at the local, national or international level.
Participants discussed the future of ATER Ngoma Chapter. Participants suggested having regular meetings and workshop for self-evaluation as teachers and teaching career growth. They raised some areas where they need support for improvement, like speaking/pronunciation, classroom language; finding short stories matching the learners’ level. Furthermore, they suggested having a presentation about managing large classes. They also committed themselves to enhance listening skills in primary and secondary schools.
Closing the workshop, the coordinator of ATER Ngoma Chapter, Mr. Amini Ngabonziza Jean de Dieu, thanked all participants for having attended the workshop and the contribution of everyone for the success of the day’s activities. He said the committee will keep them updated regarding forthcoming planned activities and the following workshop. He also thanked ATER top management for their support.