Before I turn all dramatic, I must admit that I do know a little bit about writing a simple document in Word. So that is what I teach. I do know what happens when I press the Caps Lock button. The girls I teach, do not. And I explain. I explain again. And again. Five minutes after I think the explanation was successful (after all, she did say yes every time I asked if she understood), the same mysterious thing happens with her computer again; all the letters come out capitals!
Communication is a curious thing, especially when I am in a position where I probably see the world in a totally different way than all the girls I teach. When I think I have made myself so clear (both because I have repeated myself five times and they nod and say je comprends (I understand) no matter what I say), I actually have no clue if they still are following me.
My mind is triggered to think in new directions; to find the fine line between how I think I would best learn Computer Skills or English and teaching in a way they are used to learning. No matter how good I think Norwegian teaching strategies could be, they do not help if my Cameroonian friends not are accustomed to them and therefore gain nothing from my teaching.
It all boils down to the term cultural sensitivity: Before imposing on my host people all my fine ideas on teaching and everything else, I need to take the time to learn how things work here. I want to learn to see the world through Cameroonian eyes. Hopefully then I will understand...