"What the world needs is far from being wars of personal interests and bloodshed but of equal rights, intelligence, maturity, development and prosperous nations."
Master degree dissertation
This work is dedicated to all Congolese citizens who have lost their lives because of human vanity.
I wish to express my sincere gratitude to Dr MINAFLINOU Bankolé Estelle, my supervisor whose patience, goodwill and great experience have made the achievement of this study possible.
My warmest thanks go to Dr KOUMAPAI Taofiki, head of the Department of Languages, Literatures and Foreign Civilization, to Dr Romain BABAGBETO and Mr Sylla PASSOKONA for their substantial material and moral support.
My thanks are eventually extended to all my dear lecturers both from the Marien Ngouabi University and the University of Abomey-Calavi.
In today's world of globalisation, it is increasingly necessary for French speaking countries to value English. Indeed, English assumes currently the international responsibility as a vehicle of many existing cultures and civilizations around the world. For this reason, Congo-Brazzaville one of the African Francophone countries has been devoting itself to transform its academic institutions into sound places of the English Language teaching and learning and by creating the adequate facilities and environment.
In fact from 1993 to 1997, Congo-Brazzaville has experienced social disturbances, and as a result the Congolese institutions have been suffering from a great deal of problems preventing the effective teaching and learning of English. These problems can be considered under three main headings: the destruction of the teaching and learning environment (the vicinity of the university, lecture halls, workspace...), the destruction of the language practice facilities and the inadequate teaching and learning atmosphere (cooperation, interaction, social transactions and unity).
As a result, both teachers and students have been losing motivation, and good will towards the "geographically most widespoken language on earth". Yet, it is important for Congolese students to read about foreign cultures, which are of course of a vital importance. Anyway, whether you are learning a new language or discovering a new culture, it is most important to be an observer, carefully watching and listening to others as well as understanding what they do and say and also if need be respond to them.
In fact, a person who is a bilingual or multilingual has access to much larger body of knowledge than a person who is monolingual since languages stand at the centre of human communication. They are the medium through which the manners, morals and mythology of society are passed on to the next generation. They are used to make friends, to negotiate contracts, to discuss ethics, to explain religious beliefs, to transfer information from one person to another. That is why, valuing the importance of English language today is the issue at stake.
One is therefore invited to believe that the teaching of English in French-speaking countries, primarily in Congo-Brazzaville's academic institutions is a necessity. So, the acquisition of English is now a requirement for any Congolese citizen who pretends to be an intellectual. This is abvious in the sense that many people lose opportunities of work in private or public sectors because they can't read and write English. In other words, the access to the job-market, the perfect social integration and the cultural maturity of an individual today are greatly influenced by a real mastering of the English language.
Due to the spate of civil wars that have ravaged Congo-Brazzaville, my research work intends to shed some light on the problems associated with the teaching of English as a foreign language at Marien Ngouabi University today.
Now, what is the stated problem of the study? What is the nature of this study? What are the stated hypotheses of the research work?
What is the background of this study? Chapter one of this dissertation will answer all these questions.
RECOMMENDATIONS AND SUGGESTIONS
War effects should not lead Congolese authorities, teachers and students to lose completely motivation and neglect the English language . This would be preposterous as English is the most spoken language around the globe. Indeed, it is the language of commerce and international relations as well. That is why, Congolese should not forget the country's objectives about the teaching of English before the 1993 and 1997 civil wars. In fact, with globalisation, Congo still needs to maintain good relationships with the scientific and technological supremacy of English speaking countries such as the United States of America, England etc... Its citizens also still need English for opportunities of work in private or public sectors, knowledge in economics, medecine, physics, mathematics and computers fields, through books written in English. Congolese students still need English to register in English speaking countries for academic purposes so that they can be able to understand oral lectures, take comprehensive notes, prepare written papers and participate in class discussions. For these reasons, I would like to address my recommendations firstly to the Congolese political authorities, secondly my suggestions to both Marien Ngouabi University lecturers and students.
A - Recommendations
1-To the Congolese political authorities
If the Congolese political authorities want both lecturers and students to regain confidence and perform successfully they should meet the following conditions:
- The rehabilitation of Marien Ngouabi University and its equipment renewed with laboratory and library facilities
- The regular payment of lecturers' salaries and students' s grants
- The rehabilitation of medical centers
- The rehabilitation and construction of toilets facilities
- The construction of a second University in Pointe-Noire the economic capital so that lecturers and students who are not willing to come back to Brazzaville can pursue their educational goals in this part of the country
- The rehabilitation of the American cultural center as required by the American authorities; a resource center for both lecturers and students for documentation and research
- The training of EFL/teachers
Moreover, the Congolese political authorities should reconstruct unity through the promotion of civic values and sports.
* The promotion of civic values
To achieve efficiently this goal, much effort and probably several years of good-will, patience, hope will be needed, but optimism must be a guiding force. So the Congolese political authorities should associate teachers to finance a new programme on civic education. Civic values include moral education, patriotic education, democratic culture, peace culture, family life education.
- Moral education
It includes the promotion of human rights (life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness). In other words, all teachers and students and all education stakeholders should treat one another with much more dignity and respect.
- Patriotic education
It helps individuals be imbued with a high conscience of showing love to their country and its interest.
- Democratic culture
This privileges the relationship between an individual and the group. It introduces to the practice of democracy, the aprrenticeship of its regulations or norms in order to have the rule of law.
- Peace culture
This includes the notion of national and international comprehension of security, social justice and the pacific and amicable settlement of conflicts
-Family life education
This prepares to face with responsibility parental and family duties. It helps show sympathy to the family, friends and thereby respond to national duties without any tribal and regional prejudice. Family life education also helps understand the importance of the human fraternity, mutual help, peace and justice. Only to this extent, will all teachers and students gain the sense of discerment, self-confidence, and disciple.
* The promotion of sport
To favour an atmosphere of unity, mutual trust at the University of Brazzaville, the Congolese authorities should promote sport (football, basketball, boxing, tennis, scuba diving etc.) Indeed, games provide an emotional excitement to the practitioners and provide them with an opportunity to socialize or sympathize. As a result, Congolese students and teachers as well will be able to show love, solidarity, brotherhood and thus respect to the human values and rights by which all men are created equal and endowed by nature with the same inalienable rights among which life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.
In other words, as the students would be respectful, and gain confidence, their learning atmosphere would become safe. Only at this price, will they be able to work with others, hand in hand in a very cheerful and relaxed atmosphere.
Games are nothing but a great incentive to make friends, both at school and outside. Games are a builder of a group character and in our actuel situation they are nothing but an incentive to stimulate students' motivation, determination, will, and to show respect and dignity to other qualities which are of course conducive to effective teaching and learning.
1-To the teachers
Teaching is an activity that cannot be done in vacuum. The teacher being one of the most important elements in the teaching process should know the roles and the basic behaviors that are expected of him to facilitate learning.
Therefore, the following suggestions are important. So, Congolese teachers should:
- entertain and create a relaxed atmosphere
- make the language comprehensible to the students
- use a variety of methods to match students learning styles
- use a variety of methods to evaluate their progress
- avoid looking down on students and avoid humiliating them
- provide opportunities to encourage the speaking of the language whenever and wherever possible
- give regular feedback
- manage correctly his period of time
- be considered as models in many fields such us speaking, dressing, punctuality and regularity.
Moreover, to help students get rid of their bad feelings, anger, hatred and resentment, I would kindly ask Congolese teachers to put emphasis on group activities. And one of the activities is oral report. For this activity, the teacher can design a number of topics related to his subject matter and then can divide the class into small or large groups according to the class size. The teacher will select students at random and then form heterogeneous groups composed of students of different ethnic or regional origins. So he will have them make research, have discussions and work together. As a result, the oral reports will increase communication, trust, confidence and friendliness. Apart from oral reports, teachers of English as a foreign language can also use group homework and debates to get students socialized
Another way or method, teachers can use to allay students' bad feelings is to use rephrasing as a way of correcting students' mistakes. Obviously, students who are nervous or affected by war traumatism dislike criticisms about their English performances. Rather than being critical, a teacher can show understanding by listening to what students have to say and then rephrase properly their sentences. Indeed, rephrasing can provide students with a way to reflect on their own English production without feeling frustrated.
2-To the students
I would kindly ask the Congolese students to facilitate things for teachers. Indeed, they should forgive and then forget their bad feelings of anger, hatred and resentment. In fact, peace is the actual weapon of a secure atmosphere of teaching and learning. That is why, they should show humility, respect, discipline, faithfulness, pragmatism and motivation which are qualities conducive to the effective teaching and learning of English as a foreign language.
At last teachers and students should learn how to seek for peace, how to be tolerant. Indeed, to promote peace is to maintain an effective educational system.
Besides, as MOUANDA, (1999) writes "Congo-Brazzaville civil war resides in the very personalities of those who undertake to manage the essential political challenges" (p.6). As a result, I will ask the Congolese teachers and students to always focus their choice and interest on a leader who can be a peace maker in the strongest sense of the word during presidential elections.
Congo-Brazzaville's institutions in general and Marien Ngouabi University in particular had once been reference centers for the teaching and learning of English as a foreign language. Yet social disturbances have seriously hindered the pursuit of this noble education goal, affecting teachers and students' s welfare, the language practice facilities and the teaching and learning atmosphere. As a result, several Congolese students and intellectuals are deprived of the opportunity to communicate fluently in English. But it is worth reminding here that English assumes currently an international function of communication. In other words, today, anyone pretending to be a literate or an intellectual should master it.
So this study is an appeal for the Congolese political and educational authorities as well as other categories of people whose contribution cannot be neglected in the improvement of English teaching conditions in Congo-Brazzaville's institutions, especially at Marien Ngouabi University. Both lecturers and students should be allowed to fulfill peacefully their noble role. Moreover, they should be encouraged and motivated to function in an atmosphere of mutual trust goodwill, respect and tolerance. Such a fundamental truth should not be denied. Indeed, it is the ultimate triumph of what is true for the effective promotion of the English language in the country.
Now, let us repeat with insistence that Congolese politicians should learn how to be tolerant and work to achieve the great objectives set forth in this study is that a new Congo can be shaped where young Congolese will study and grow up, where they will work along side the others in a friendly atmosphere. Therefore, the case of Congo-Brazzaville can be regarded as an appeal for other countries not yet plagued by social disturbances (Benin, Burkina Faso etc.) to draw the necessary lessons so as to make the best choices and decisions.
TEFL Master's degree
Above, students who dealt with German (SOT I, SOT II, SOT IV) under Dr Olk
Translation Post Graduate Diploma
Jean Robert YEMBELE, I am grateful to you for being a pillar in my school education.
God is God!