In early 2021, I had a great opportunity to interview Clement Ogedegbe, an English teacher, motivational speaker, and leadership and life coach. He is passionate about educating the next generation of leaders who will understand their purpose on earth and be able to overcome economic and global challenges.
In the interview, we talked about methods of teaching and improving English and the Nigerian version of Pidgin English.
- Clemente, what does your English lesson look like and what teaching methods do you use?
- Of course, thank you very much. Yes, I teach a lot of students from all over the world, and you know, I started teaching online two years ago, but I’ve been a teacher for over nine years. My classes are usually very interactive and fun.
Most of my students are adults, so we know how to communicate, talk about different topics. We can talk about politics today, about religion tomorrow, about business in a few days, just about anything, about what’s going on in society. We can talk about this with my students, and that means that most of my students already have some level of English and can communicate with me. If you live in a country where English is not your official language, even if you know English, you can’t practice because you don’t have people to communicate with. Therefore, most of my students are just looking for someone to talk to. We can talk about different topics. My teaching method is straightforward, and maybe if I have beginner students, I will use a professional learning method to teach them.
- Since you use this communicative approach, isn’t it difficult for you to extract words from students so that they can speak English?
- So it’s true. If you have a topic that interests students, he or she will want to talk. You no longer need to encourage them to say something. For example, if I ask you to tell me about your country, you will have a lot to say, so the process is natural, but some other students who do not want to speak need to ask questions that concern them, that is, what interests them. Some students may not like politics, others may not want to talk about religion, so you just look for what you think the student is interested in, and then focus on what some people just want to talk about, like programming, if it’s , of course, they are interested. This means that as a tutor, as an English tutor, I must be versatile in my knowledge to be able to communicate with people from different walks of life.
- So. So, I see that you still have to be a great psychologist.
- As far as I know, you are from Nigeria, and most of the people there speak fluent English. Could you tell us what Pidgin English is and whether it is different from general English?
- OK. First, Nigeria was colonized by the British, so we studied English at school. Everyone in Nigeria who studied at school taught British English. But, we slightly modified the school British version of English, and we got a Nigerian custom. So Pidgin English is just an informal version of British English that we were taught in school. We changed a few words, but everyone on the street understands English. For example, if I want to say, “What’s going on?” (“How are you?”), I will say, “Wetin dey happen?”. So now, to ordinary people, I will say “Wetin dey happen?” and they will understand, and the more educated will ask “What’s happening?” If you are not Nigerian, it may be difficult for you to understand.
- I read on the Internet that Pidgin English is a combination of Arabic, English and Zulu. It’s true?
- So. The truth is that we have different types of customization. Even in China there is a kind of adaptation, in other countries there is an adaptation, but the Nigerian adaptation is unique to Nigeria, so the combination of all these languages, which we combine with some of our local languages, intertwine to form the Nigerian English adaptation.
- Thank you so much, Clemente, for such an interesting interview!
- Thank you too! Goodbye!