By Nkem Iloeje-Agu

“Seat down” or “Seet down” cannot mean “sit down”.

In just the same way as I, being Igbo, cannot rightly be expected to understand “egbe” to mean “gun”, when it is pronounced “egbe” as in the bird (not “bed”), kite, one cannot in fairness, expect to be understood when we say, “seet”, instead of “sit”, as we often do in our self-styled local-English language.

Research has shown that any educator deserving of the title must be able to equip his learners with the four skills relevant for their survival and success in the 21st century. Those key skills, tagged the 4C skills are creativity, critical thinking, collaboration and communication.

I find it interesting to wonder how possible collaboration (or indeed, any of the other skills) is without clear communication.

Basic communication skills lie in the ability to understand and be understood.

If that is the case, then would I have communicated when I say, for instance, “dees eez a fooneral”‘ when, in fact, I meant to say “this is a funeral”?

We for whom the English language is not our mother tongue, and who have not had the privilege of having, at a much younger age, firsthand interactions with original or knowledgeable speakers of the language, must, as a matter of responsibility to our listeners, especially, our learners, make that additional sacrifice of learning the difference between /I/ and /i:/, between /d/ and /ð/, between /θ/ or /t/, and so many more of such.

In taking advantage of available classes, as recommended, to acquire these skills, we, as educators, are equipped to help our 21st century learners acquire effective communication skills – necessary tools for them to thrive in their world.


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