Our family has served as missionaries in Nigeria since 1987. We spent the first 14 years among the Bokyi speaking people, one of over 300 language groups in Nigeria. Although English is Nigeria's official language, most Nigerians speak it as a second or third language. Many women have not had the opportunity to acquire literacy skills in their vernacular languages or any skills in English. They often find themselves excluded from various circles of society for this reason. As our family moved to more urban settings in Nigeria, I became interested in addressing this need especially as a way of reaching out to others with the good news of salvation through Jesus Christ. In May 2009 I completed Regent University's masters degree program in the School of Education with a focus on Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL). This degree has equipped me to empower people through the English language.
Currently I am working with a group of women and a group of pastors in Nigeria. The women have all completed a literacy program in the Hausa language with a Christian women's organization. The organization has asked me to help them develop a curriculum for their English language program. I and one of the organization's teachers teach the class together. My ultimate goal is to not only empower the students, but also the organization to carry out an English program on their own.
The group of pastors are students in a Master of Arts in Christian Outreach (MACO) offered in Nigeria. Since English is not their first language, I work with them on their writing and research skills so that they can become proficient in expressing themselves in English. Without my experience in a rigorous masters program, I would not understand a masters level of academic writing nor be able to give them guidance in improving their competency in the English language.
The adult track of the TESOL program in Regent's School of Education prepared me to work with students on a beginning English level as well as students on the post graduate level. In both circumstances, the expected outcome are Africans, whose lives are improved through their use of English, and are better able to share their faith in Jesus Christ in more English speaking contexts.
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