Tags: Enkakenya Centre for Excelence, Enoosaen, girls' education, Kenya, Spelling Bee
Yesterday we held the first Spelling Bee contest at the Enkakenya Centre for Excellence. The whole event was a success: the girls were very excited to participate, the teachers were great at keeping the event going in an orderly manner, and the gifts brought by two different groups of visitors who came to the school in the past couple of weeks made for amazing prizes for the girls.
The whole idea behind the Spelling Bee was to help the girls learn new words and stress the importance of improving their English skills. With this in mind, we had the girls take note of the difficult English words that they encountered in their lessons during a week, and then I went over those words and compiled different lists of 100 words each for Classes 4 to 6.
When the lists were ready, we went to each class, explained the concept of a Spelling Bee, wrote the words on the chalkboard and clarified any initial questions that they had about pronunciation. The girls then had to use the dictionaries to look up the meaning of the words, and after this was done they had to study them and memorize their spelling. We gave them around 3 weeks to study, and a new group of visitors (all native English speakers) helped the girls go over the words one more time on Saturday before the big day.
I must say that I was slightly apprehensive about the whole thing as I was not sure if the girls had really understood what was being asked of them or if they were taking the Spelling Bee seriously enough, but in the end we all had a great Sunday afternoon and the event was amazing, from beginning to end.
I cheered for each girl as they came in the room for their turn, and hoped that all of them would get their words right. Alas, that is not possible (or expected) in a Spelling Bee, but I still felt really sorry for the ones who got their words wrong. When a girl got her word right, the others who were watching would erupt in a loud cheer, and it was great to see all the girls who did get their words right go outside of the room jumping with excitement as they greeted their classmates and got back in line for another round.
Even though we stressed several times that the prizes were not the ultimate goal of the Spelling Bee, the girls were still more than happy during their awards ceremony. We awarded everyone with a beautiful, colorful sticker for their participation, and places 1 to 10 got bigger prizes that included stickers, pens and pencils, headbands, sweets and other shiny objects. I was happy (and relieved!) to see our girls doing very well throughout the competition and we even had a tie for 1st place in Class 4.
I certainly hope that this was the first of other Spelling Bees to come, and truly hope that our girls found this activity useful in their learning process. Personally, this will be one of my most cherished memories from my time in Enoosaen, and will certainly remember the joy on everyone’s faces at the end of the day.