It is a great pleasure to be part of this group. It goes without saying that a few years ago I wouldnâ€™t have even dreamed of it. So, itâ€™s a great honour for me.Â I come from Rwanda, on a small island in the Southwestern part of the Country in the middle of Lake Kivu. There, I was brought up by loving parents who, although they had never been to school, would never allow me to miss a single class. There, on this small island, I started my schooling literally under a big tree. Now, here I am, starting a PhD in education to explore the technology training of pre-service language teachers in Rwanda.
My interest is in language teacher education and development, and this has been ongoing for quite a while now. Back in 2010, right after my graduation with a BA in French and English with Education, when the country was switching from French to English (this is another story), I was one of the people who were recruited by the then Teacher Service Commission to train my fellow teachers to develop fluency in English and start using it as their medium of instruction within one month! My interest in teacher training gradually increased. I later on, and more enthusiastically, trained school-based mentors who were in charge of supporting the teachers that I just mentioned above in English language and methodology. I also trained senior mentors who were to cascade the training to school based mentors.Â
As I was doing this, I quickly realized that my knowledge was far from what I actually needed to do my own job as a language teacher and support my fellow teachers as a teacher trainer. Thatâ€™s how I came to Manchester in 2013 to do an MA in TESOL (Educational Technology). First TESOL because of the new status ofÂ English in my country, and second, Educational Technology because it is a subject selling like hot bread in my country, at least if you consider how politicians talk about it. With my MA in pocket, I started working both as a language instructor in a college and a teacher educator in a private institution in the country where I taught different courses related to language teaching. Besides that, I became actively involved in the Association of Teachers of English in Rwanda (ATER), which brought me in regular contact with in-service teachers who were ready to share their strengths and weaknesses and this led me to realize how important technology would be in a context like mine. That got me thinking and led to the current proposal that I am going to focus on during the PhD time here at Manchester. It goes without saying that the input of members of this LANTERN community will be important for a successful completion of my PhD journey!