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Utah Teacher Heading to Africa to Teach

Utah Teacher Heading to Africa to Teach

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Sammy Linebaugh Reporting A Rose Park Elementary teacher is preparing for school, but this year she'll be teaching halfway around the globe, in Utah's sister community, Ouellessebougou in Mali, West Africa.

The villages of Ouellessebougou once had a formal teaching method, the students learning in French -- the only official language taught after French colonization.

Marianne Jones, Teacher going to Mali, West Africa: “They’ve never learned to read and write in Bahabamba, which is their own native language.”

But that, says Marianne Jones, is changing.

Marianne: "They're so excited about it. The kids are really excited about learning."

The Rose Park Elementary School teacher is preparing to spend the next year away from her Utah students, living in West Africa, where government reforms in education are allowing for new, localized curricula and more kid-friendly learning.

Jones made a trip there in April. When she returns, she'll spend much of her time in the villages working with teachers, brainstorming ways to engage students. Already, she says, teachers are motivating each other.

Marianne Jones: "Now we go into classrooms, the kids are involved, they are talking to each other, they're working in small groups, there's stuff all over the walls of things they've done, pictures and stories and math and calendars."

Martha Ethington.Exec. Director: "They worked so well with her the time that she was there before, they felt that she was a contributor and not in any way saying, this is the western way to do it."

Marianne Jones: "I feel like if we just blow a little wind under their wings, they're gonna start flying."

This Saturday, August 21, is the annual Ouellessebougou 5k run and Africa Fest, which is free to the public.

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