A Year to Prepare

The Tanzania Committee of Delray Beach Sister Cities, Inc. has been in the planning stages of a teacher exchange program for several years. In 2004 we had Dr. Dallas Browne, an Honorary Consul to the Republic of Tanzania, speak at our 4th Annual Safari Dinner. Now, as we hold our 7th Safari Dinner, Dr. Browne will return to speak, as we are about to execute our first real action toward making the teacher exchange real.

Delray Beach has had a successful student exchange program to Japan for many years. It is an experience that area students compete for and which changes the life of the young participants. There is a selection process and then training, well ahead of the actual trip abroad. The activities are educationally focused and executed on a strict timeline that helps insure success.

As the Tanzanian committee aspires to develop our teacher exchange program we intend to work in much the same manner. With that in mind it is proposed that we make our visit this summer with a small exploratory group of four or five educators, who will meet with educators in Moshi to identify candidates who will be the first group of participants in our long-ranged Teacher Exchange program between Moshi, Tanzania and Delray Beach. 

The basic plan of the program is to pair an American teacher with a Tanzanian teacher. During the next school year they would communicate and collaborate with their counterpart on some projects in their classrooms. In the Summer of 2009 our teachers will visit their Tanzanian partner teachers, and spend a week at his or her school in Moshi, followed by wildlife safaris and cultural tours. In 2010 the Tanzanian teachers will come to Delray Beach and be hosted at their partner’s school, for the period of one week or more, followed by cultural and entertainment touring around Florida.

The Delray Beach teachers will be invited from the three IB schools (Morikami Park Elementary, Carver Middle School and Atlantic High School), American Heritage and Trinity Lutheran School. Each school would have one to three participants, who would o through a selection process and make a commitment for two years. During this time they would begin a program of Kiswahili language study, and would also learn about the history and cultures of Tanzania, with a focus on the Kilimanjaro Region and Moshi. During the school year they would infuse aspects of their studies into their subject curriculum and classroom activities, so that students of their school start to embrace the concept of internationalism  and feel a connection to our Sister City in Africa, and particularly to the partnered Tanzanian teacher and their class/es.

The study of Kiswahili would continue up to, during and after the trip to Tanzania, with the intention that learning the language of Kiswahili will make the week visit in the classroom in Tanzania more of a learning experience for those from Delray Beach.  Partnering teachers will have been instructed to communicate in written Kiswahili by emails and letters. We understand that the Tanzanian teachers want to improve their English, so they will be instructed to critique the writing of their counterpart in English.

When the Tanzania teachers make their visit in 2010, they would be better fit to understand what’s happening over here.  The struggles with the languages will forge a closer bond between the teachers. Though it is understood that Tanzanian all study English in school, they will benefit from opportunities to use English with the partner over the period of two years, and after. They will also be very helpful in helping the American teachers who will be learning a totally foreign language.

The program would be over seen by Ngozi Mensah, Clovis Moodie, Maria Nhambu and n’Detenge n’Gurumo. Selected educators and administrators will be consulted in the design of the program. The Delray Education Board will be briefed and we will seek some financial support for the ongoing program. School principals will also be briefed and their advice and agreement to the program sought. Moshi Committee and Board members will be enlisted in the selection.

The program will need to be fully planned during the next few months, but the intention of the exchange is to share best practices in curriculum, classroom management and school administration. It is hoped that the schools of the chosen teachers will get behind the effort for funding their teacher/s to make the visit and to help fund the visiting Tanzanian teachers in two years.

In the meantime, the Tanzania committee will continue its efforts to support the Moshi regional library with books and computers, through its Twilight Safari Dinner fund-raiser and other efforts that will be developed through the schools in the area. A concerted effort will be made to increase awareness of Tanzania at all school levels.

The participating teachers will be enlisted to help in a drive to increase student and family membership in Sister Cities of Delray Beach, Inc. and to promote participation by our youth and their families in local festivals and activities, and also in the youth forum at the International Sister Cities Annual Conferences held in various hosting cities around the USA. They will help by building awareness of the cities with Sister Cities in Florida and try to make some connections. Through their efforts and ours, Delray Beach can act as a catalyst to bring other cities in Florida together for shared events, both academic and athletic, for both the youth and senior levels.