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Mandela-Washington Fellowship Reciprocal Exchange Program for Young African Leaders

Updated: Mar 12, 2023

SIT and Read Project - 2022

The project implementation included three main activities: the purchase of the technology (five Dell laptops), installation of the Ogstar app on the laptops and ten days of training for seven teachers. Training included a four-day workshop on how to use the Ogstar app to teach reading in English as well as six days of practice with students.

Teacher professional development by Stephanie Nislow: teachers didn't have any prior knowledge of the Ogstar app before the training. After each session of training, they would work with their students to practice. They are all now capable of using the application to teach the students reading in English. Moreover, the app is built in such an intuitive and child-friendly way that students can use it to self-instruct with minimum support of the teacher. Students are now capable of using the app to play educational games that teach them reading, writing and listening in English. In the future, we will introduce students to the app earlier (in the second grade), so they have ample time to use it and develop their English reading skills as they prepare to transition to English as a medium of instruction in the fourth grade.

Stephanie and Paulin will continue to collaborate on the Ogstar Project: every year, a new cohort of students will be admitted in the project to use the five laptops and existing 14 iPads to self-teach reading in English. Stephanie will provide training to any new teachers who may be hired throughout the project. We are also planning to partner with another two schools (the Kigali Christian School and INEZA Academy) to expand the reach of the project.

Through the Reciprocal Exchange Program, we (OgStar Reading) were able to expand our work with REAP and deepen the impact we had on the students and teachers involved in the project. Additionally, we learned valuable lessons from the staff and teachers that will inform our work with other English language learners in the U.S. and abroad.

Teachers from both the Duha School and REAP have improved their technology and teaching reading skills. For five teachers among seven, it was their first time to use technology to teach reading. Also, learning from a native speaker of English improved teachers' listening and phonological skills.

"Using the Ogstar app has made my work easier when teaching English reading. I, myself, struggle with English, but the app helps me teach sounds of English in their native accent," said Marie Rose Nyiraneza, a grade three teacher at the Duha Complex School.

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