A learner reads the English Calendar Chart in Yobe, Nigeria
Credit: Suleiman Mohammed Yobe State TaRL Coordinator, UNICEF Nigeria
Speakers present on the L2F2 methodology and its adaptations across Anglophone contexts in Sub-Saharan Africa.
Credit: TaRL Africa
In several parts of the world, the language taught in schools differs from that spoken at home. Developed by TaRL Africa and Pratham International, the Language Learning from Familiar to Formal (L2F2) methodology addresses the challenge faced by many children who struggle to learn in a language different from their own. The L2F2 methodology offers a unique way of strengthening children’s local language skills while also building their English language skills in an accelerated manner.
To present experiences and learnings from diverse L2F2 programmes, TaRL Africa and Pratham International hosted a webinar on the methodology on 4th December 2023. This webinar featured experts from TaRL Africa and Pratham International, as well as from partners who have contextualised and implemented the methodology across Sub-Saharan Africa. These included speakers from partners such as UNICEF Nigeria, Young African Refugees for Integral Development (YARID Uganda), Street Child Cameroon, Nkong Hill Top Association for Development (NADEV) and Grassroots Nest for Innovation and Change (GRIC Africa).
During the webinar, experts from TaRL Africa and Pratham International explained the origin of the methodology as well as its key components. Usha Rane, Director of Content and Training at Pratham International said that she felt compelled to create a solution that could bridge the gap in learning by helping children connect with their native language while seamlessly transitioning to English. “It’s about making learning resonate with the language that the students speak in while also embracing the broader world of English,” she said. Meenal Joshi, the Content Developer and Trainer at Pratham International, spoke about the key components of the methodology and how it is delivered in classrooms across diverse contexts. Irene Njeri, the Content and Training Associate at TaRL Africa talked about implementing L2F2 in TaRL Africa’s learning labs in Kitui County, Kenya, which serve as a real-world testing ground to assess the effectiveness of the L2F2 approach in diverse educational settings. In these labs, this methodology has elevated learning experiences and English language acquisition for learners.
Representatives from partner organisations also shared learnings from their L2F2 interventions. From Kenya, Samwel Mwayi showcased how GRIC leveraged the L2F2 methodology to support learners from pastoralist communities in Kajiado across 30 Primary Schools. In this context, learners not only built their foundational skills in the Maa language but also used it to acquire foundational skills in English. Judith Ntube’s presentation on NADEV’s ‘We Go Sabi’ initiative revealed how 914 learners in Cameroon benefited from the programme, with a 24 percentage point improvement in the proportion of learners who were able to read simple English sentences at the end of the intervention cycle.
Speakers highlighted L2F2’s potential to transition learners to learning in English in diverse Anglophone countries in the region. From Uganda, Elvis Wanume, Education Manager at YARID, shared that his organisation was using L2F2 to support learners in refugee camps transition to mainstream schooling, which takes place in English. Finally, Yetunde Oluwatosin, a UNICEF Nigeria Education specialist, provided valuable context on L2F2’s implementation in Nigeria, highlighting the progress of about 49,000 learners in Borno and Yobe states between September 2022 and August 2023. “Our educators, mentors, and government play indispensable roles in the execution of L2F2. We must continue collaborating within our respective domains to propel the initiative forward. Pausing is not an option; we must persist in our efforts.” said Yetunde.
With over 120 attendees, this webinar presented TaRL Africa and Pratham International with a valuable opportunity to exchange knowledge and share perspectives on L2F2 implementation with a diverse audience. The successes and challenges discussed in the course of the webinar underscored the program’s adaptability and potential to expand in Sub-Saharan Africa and beyond. In the new year, we remain committed to improving the L2F2 methodology and facilitating ongoing dialogue and collaboration to strengthen foundational learning practices in Sub-Saharan Africa.