‘The Value of English’University of Koudougou, October 31, 2012.

Attendees – 17 business administration students.

Objective: Awareness raising

This lesson for first-year business administration students demonstrated the utility of English in a global economy. This was done, in part, by contrasting the economic standing of Francophone and Anglophone countries.

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University of Koudougou students, October 31, 2012


‘Election Night Jeopardy’US EMB Ouagadougou, November 6, 2012. 

Attendees ~100 participants. Objective: Fun look at US politics.

The Jeopardy game show format was used to test the audience’s knowledge of the 2012 US presidential candidates and presidential politics in general.

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US EMB Ouaga Election night watchers, November 6, 2012


‘Choosing Win-Win Lessons!’ Fada N’Gourma, November 17, 2012.

Attendees 12 in-service teachers. Focus: Bloom’s Taxonomy

Teachers were taught how to set learning objectives from a list of action verb.

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Fada N’Gourma in-service teachers, November 17, 2012


‘Boundless English!’University of Koudougou, November 21, 2012. 

Attendees – 13 tourism students.

Objective: Listening comprehension, resource awareness.

Tourism students used a listening-practice website that had travel-related content.

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University of Koudougou tourism students, November 21, 2012


‘“Do you understand?”

Assessing higher-order thinking skills’ — Kaya,  December 1, 2012.

Attendees – 20 in-service teachers.

Objective: Set meaningful student learning goals.

Bloom’s Taxonomy was used to show English teachers how to encourage and assess higher-order thinking skills.

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Kaya in-service teachers, December 1, 2012


‘Effective Elicitation: Targeting English language’ US EMB Ouagadougou, December 13, 2012; Dedougou, December 14, 2013. 

Attendees 50 in-service teachers; 35 in Dedougou.

Focus: Techniques to increase learner engagement.

This Burkina English Teachers’ Association (BETA) teacher training workshop was at the US Embassy and demonstrated elicitation techniques to prompt target language.

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US EMB Ouagadougou BETA meeting, December 13, 2012


‘I Am Somebody!  A positive attitude for economic progress’ – 

University of Ouagadougou, January 17, 2013. 

Attendees – 105 university students.

Objective: Compare and contrast cultures.

The film Wattstax (1973) was used to discuss economic growth and social status gains after social movements.

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University of Ouagadougou English Club members, January 17, 2013


‘Eyes on the Prize: The Key to Freedom’

US EMB Ouagadougou, February 7, 2013. 

Attendees – 25 English Club participants.

Objective: Compare and contrast cultures.

The film series Eyes on the Prize (1997) was used to recognize Black History Month, and explore similarities between post-Civil Rights Movement America and post-Independence Burkina Faso.

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US EMB Ouagadougou English Club activity, February 7, 2013.


‘Action! TESOL methodologies for improve teaching’ —

ISIG (l’Institut Supérieur d’Informatique de Gestion),

Ouagadougou, February 8, 2013. Attendees – 8 in-service teachers.

Focus: TESOL methodologies for in-service teachers.

This was a 10-week course for in-service English teachers to improve broad work (e.g. drawing), elicitation technique and  giving instructions.

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ISIG instructors, Ouagadougou, February 8, 2013


‘Dynamic Instruction!’

University of Koudougou course, launched February 19, 2013.

Attendees – 35 student-teachers.

Objective: Communicative language teaching (CLT) .

Contrary to traditional chalk and talk or teacher-centered instruction, CLT is student-centered and lively. Speaking is emphasized but done in a carefree manner. Listening tasks use authentic and relevant resources. Even grammar is taught with real-life examples. I am thrilled to share CLT and show how this form of English instruction can be fun, engaging and therefore more effective.

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University of Koudougou student-teachers, February 19, 2013


‘Hot, hectic and tireless:

Fada N’Gourma Teacher Training (Part III)’ – Fada, February 23, 2013.

Attendees – 6 in-service teachers.

Focus: TESOL methodologies.

This third Fada visit focused on lesson planning.

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Fada in-service teachers, February 23, 2013


‘Haiku Contest’ US EMB Ouagadougou, March 21, 2013.

Attendees – 21 English Club participants.

Objective: Create haikus based on selected topics.

Participants created haikus, Japanese poetry comprised of 17 syllables, after watching TED Talks from Sheryl WuDunn and Leymah Gbowee. The top three poems are below:

I am so angry
Angry that you break my hope
You will be surprised

People should know that
when there is hope there is life
So never give up

In gender we trust
because God is a woman
Worship her we must

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US EMB Ouagadougou English Club participants, March 21, 2013


‘Mind Mapping the Climate Crisis’ US EMB Ouaga, April 25, 2013.

Attendees – 40 English Club participants.

Objective: Practice a collaborative or individual brainstorming strategy.

For the activity, I presented several examples of mind maps, Then, after working together on a Democracy mind map, participants watched a short video about the “climate crisis.” Next, each English Club discussed that topic, as they created a mind map to present to their peers. The top three mind maps were awarded prizes. However, everyone gained a better understanding of the climate change crisis and learned a collaborative strategy for expanding, focusing and seeing thoughts on any topic.

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Mind mapping contestants at the US Embassy – Ouagadougou, April 25, 2013.


‘Jazz and Democracy’ University of Ouagadougou, May 2, 2013.

Attendees – 100 English Club participants.

Objective: Highlight shared features of jazz music and democracy, while developing a basic knowledge of the music.

After discussing jazz roots, I built up participant’s understanding of jazz music with several samples of instrumentation. Next, I played recorded examples of the common A-A-B-A jazz format that, just like democracy, has structure and responsibility, but supports individual freedom.

Later, I tested the participant’s new knowledge with a “melody” match-up game to identify two versions of one jazz composition. For example, for the tune Confirmation, match Charlie Parker’s 1946 recording with Chick Corea’s 1981 performance. Overall, the event allowed the English Club members to learn about jazz, have fun using English, and gain a more informed perspective for the 21st Annual Ouagadougou Jazz Festival that was underway.

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English Club, Uni of Ouaga, Jazz and Democracy, May 2, 2013.


English to go! Reading pocket books –  Lycée Marien N’gouabis, May 8, 2013.

Attendees – 75  fifth-grade students.

Objective: Test a large class management strategy and demonstrate vocabulary building through reading activities.

To manage the large group, I first organized the students into 10 groups designated by bottle cap logos. Next, with downloaded pocket books, I used reading activities for vocabulary building. Since the target language was contextualized in kid-friendly stories, and later used in games, the new words were fun to practice and memorable as a result. All students received a pocket book to take the language and fun away, as each continues to develop English language skills through reading.

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Lycée Marien N’gouabi students, May 8, 2013.


‘Practical TESOL’ –  University of Koudougou, May 28, 2013.

Attendees – 31 student-teachers.

Objective: Practice TESOL basics.

The 12-week course, started February 19, focused on practical aspects of English language instruction, including strategies for maintaining attention, planning no-tech lessons, organizing large classes and conducting performance assessments.  The objective was to instill a sense of vocation in these young teachers, as some may be called into service early and most will face dire working conditions.  My method centered on recorded peer-teaching sessions to help the new teachers self-assess, improve confidence quickly and be prepared to teach immediately.

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University of Koudougou 1st year student-teachers, May 28, 2013.