On June 29, 2014, English Language Fellow Joseph Haba held a one-day workshop for 250 English and French teacher trainees at the University of Koudougou teacher training college (ENS). English teacher members of Burkina English Teacher Association (BETA) from Ouagadougou and Bobo-Dioulasso also joined in. Mr. Haba has been teaching at the University of Koudougou for the past 10 months on a project sponsored through the Office of English Language Programs of the U. S. State Department. During this workshop Mr. Haba challenged traditional language teaching methods of lecturing, reading of texts, and memorization of grammar rules. He showed participants the learning pyramid which demonstrates that these traditional methods produce the lowest retention rates in students. Teachers and teacher trainees were challenged to use other methods, including differentiated instruction and peer mentoring, to improve classroom practice and student performance.
This training was important in terms of giving language teachers, particularly English teachers, tools and approaches to improve the effectiveness of their classroom practice. Understanding why student-centered, communicative, democratic classrooms can produce students with higher levels of language proficiency is key for Burkinabe educators. In particular, adopting methods that allow students to attain true fluency in English is vital to their future flexibility and competitiveness in the global marketplace.