Nadia, a Canadian teacher, wrote to us about how she started using Duolingo with her students. The results amazed her.
New Searles Elementary School, Nashua, NH
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I am a fifth grade teacher in New Hampshire, but I often travel to Kenya in the summer to work with kids in the Mathare Valley slum in Nairobi. This slum has somewhere close to one million people living in an area of about 3 1/2 square miles. The average person makes about $1 per day if they have a job and their is no sanitation or sewers in the slum so garbage and waste flow down the mud pathways. There is very little safe water for drinking and life if very tough for the residents of the slum who are mostly children.. The children I work with go to school and and are just as smart and talented as the kids I teach in America and have an appreciation for the education that they are provided.I love to make connections and shared experiences with my students in America and my students in Kenya.
The children in Kenya speak English in school and my students in the USA and Kenya share poetry that they write back and forth. Kids in Kenya also learn to speak Swahili in school and in the slum. I would love my students in America to learn Swahili as an additional way to make connections with the kids in Kenya so that they can communicate back and forth in this language and to show some appreciation for the language that is used in Kenya and in many places in Africa.
I would like for my students in New Hampshire to learn enough of the Swahili to be able to understand and sing some of the popular songs of Kenya that are sung in Swahili and to also understand some Kenyan poetry. They would also be able to used some of the Swahili words in poems that they write that can be shared with the students that I work with in the Mathare Valley slum. I feel that my students in America can validate and get a better appreciation of the language and experiences of their long-distance friends in Kenya if they are able to learn their language and show the children in Kenya that they can learn about them and to learn a language that is seldom, taught in schools in America.