Algebra

21st October

‘Only don’t I beseech you, generalize too much in these sympathies and tendernesses – remember that every life is a special problem which is not yours but anothers, and content yourself with the terrible algebra of your own.’

Henry James

I’m going to focus on improving the math(s) in my school, get the children speaking the international language of numbers. The official language of The Gambia is English, unofficially no one speaks English in village. The entire education system is meant to be conducted in English, a foolish colonial hangover. A misguided internationalizing dream. Teachers here are not fluent in English and are expected to use it in their classrooms solely. It hinders understanding. I want the children to understand the algebra of their own lives – most are never going to achieve that in English. Attempting to teach English here, I fear, would only make Pyrrhic victories possible.

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