When I saw the letter of invitation to Anambra CLIL training from the British Council, I was thrilled because I have been waiting for such opportunity to see other parts of Nigeria.
I was born and brought up in the North and all my visitations and travel have been to the Northern areas of Nigeria. After the excitement, thoughts began to linger in my mind such as; the issue of kidnappers in the east. This is because I have heard a lot about kidnapping in the East. However, I reassured myself with the thought that nobody knows me there. My second and major thought was, I am Muslim by faith, a Northerner, and Islam as a faith has been negatively publicized because of the activities of Boko Haram in Nigeria. My fear then was, ‘‘What will participating teachers’ perceptions be about me?’’
But every time I remember the several discussions I had with my mother about the Igbo’s and the East, I become consoled because she always told me good things about them having been born and brought up in Umuahia, she speaks the language effectively.
My mind kept reminding me that gone are those days when people from a particular part of the country and religion go to other part of the country and try to become integrated. I tried to convince myself that, I am not working alone and colleagues from the southern parts of the country do come to the North for the same training. I eventually told myself that I was going to Awka, Anambra state not just to train teachers but to experience a whole new environment and possibly promote my own culture. With these things in mind, I was set for the trip to Anambra.
As we drove through Awka, I was thrilled by the green nature of the environment. This is because Sokoto state where I come from is one of the Sahara deserts in Nigeria. The mangoes in Anambra are green yet ripe!
‘Ina kwana?’ Meaning ‘Good Morning’ in my language, I was greeted by one of the participants during registration. That was a sign of acceptance, I said to myself.
IN THE CLASS
I saw expressionless faces, yet something must be going on in their minds. Thanks to the introductory session which set the ball rolling. ‘’she is jovial’’ one of the participants whispered to another. ‘’she is cheerful’’ another whispered again.
During the first day, all I heard were traditional names that I was not familiar with, I therefore asked them to tell me the meanings. One after the other, they told me the meanings of their names, for example;
‘’Nwakego’’- a child is better than money.
‘’Ifeyinwa’’- nothing is like a child.
‘’Chinweuba’’- God has wealth
‘’Nnamdi’’- my father lives
‘’Ngozi’’- Blessing etc.
I taught them songs in Hausa. They also taught me songs in Igbo language and I joined them in singing these songs.
At the end of the training, I was happy they appreciated me and the work I did, which was evident from what they told participants from other classes.
With a sigh of satisfaction, I said to myself, my mother was right. My perception of our people from the East and my fears faded out within the nine days in the classroom and 11 nights spent in Awka. I am glad to have gained this experience and I look forward to another exciting experience.
Feedbacks from Participants
While going through the evaluation forms for the participating teachers, we realized that Aisha’s presence in Anambra as their instructor has also pulled a noticeable string of change in the lives of the teachers. These are some of their comments lifted verbatim from their individual evaluation questionnaires;
NDUM AMAKA (CHIEF EDUCATION OFFICER)
DUNUKOFIA L.G.E.A UKPO, ANAMBRA STATE.
Our trainer, Dr. Aisha Abdullahi Ibrahim made the training interesting. She knows the Content and Language Integrated Learning (CLIL) materials to her fingertips.
Initially, I was scared when I heard that she was from the North. However, this feeling faded away after staying with her for a few days. She is a mother to reckon with, she is accommodating.
ORJI CHINWE VICTORIA
COMMUNITY SECONDARY SCHOOL UMUOKPUAWKA, ANAMBRA STATE.
As participants in class ‘E’, we were opportune to have had a teacher who comes from the Northern part of Nigeria.
Dr. Aisha Abdullahi Ibrahim really impacted positively on us and has erased the perception we had before that the Northerners are less brilliant and not educated.
From my observation of Dr. Aisha Abdullahi Ibrahim, this perception is wrong because they are well educated.
MBACHU NNAMDI GODWIN
GOVERNMENT A.E.C.S.S. EZINIFITE NNEWI, ANAMBRA STATE.
The negative perception I have about the northern brothers and sisters changed during the Content and Language Integrated Learning (CLIL) training that took place from April 8th -17th 2014. This is because Dr. Aisha Abdullahi Ibrahim taught us elegantly and intelligently.
Dr. Aisha Abdullahi Ibrahim taught us the rudiment of the lesson and her lessons were much enjoyed, assimilated and we are ready to put it to practice.
MADIKE PATRICIA .C.
OKUTALUKWE COMMUNITY SECONDARY SCHOO E/URWU, ANAMBRA STATE.
The trainer for our class ‘E’ was Dr. Aisha Abdullahi Ibrahim who is from the northern part of Nigeria.
She made the training interesting, understandable and interactive as well. She adapted to our culture, the Igbo culture in the East.