As part of my fellowship, I traveled to Senegal for two weeks in April of 2016. After spending some days in the capital of Dakar, I was posted to Kolda in South Senegal. I spent my week in Kolda in the care of Mrs. Fanta Fofana Boiro, an amazing woman and educator, and her delightful husband, Mr. Moussa Boiro, Le Secretaire General de Kolda. We were able to visit many schools, government institutions, and non-profit organizations. I was able to spend time teaching and learning with children across grade levels at a variety of schools from rural, to urban, to private and technical. All together, it was an unbelievable and amazing opportunity for me to expand my view of the world and how teachers teach and students learn. If you think getting out into the world might improve your teaching or your students' learning, check out some opportunities I've listed on my Teach page.
Senegal is a stable democracy located in West Africa. Its people are predominantly Sufi Muslim, the official language is french, but the lingua franca is Wolof. Most Senegalese speak multiple languages since there are many tribal languages as well (Mandinka, Pulaar, etc.) Kolda is located between The Gambia and The Guineas and as a result has a diverse population with many cultural influences. Teranga (hospitality) is a treasured quality of the Senegalese, they will welcome you to their beautiful country and share their music, dance, food, art and so much more. Improving access to and the quality of education in Senegal has become a major push of educators and politicians in recent years. While a large portion of the country's budget goes to education, it is still not enough to meet the demands of Senegal's educational needs. Many students attend schools without permanent structures, electricity or running water. Teachers and students have little access to quality educational resources such as books or internet access. But they are still teaching and learning the same subjects we address in the United States. You can read more about my travels to Senegal (and all of my education related travels) on my blog. You can also find out more about my research question which provided a framework for my time in Senegal. I was particularly interested in finding out how the Senegalese educational system addresses environmental science. Check out what I learned in the links above.
All ideas and opinions expressed here are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent Teachers for Global Classrooms, IREX or the U.S. Department of State.