Iseyin-born Taofeeq Adebayo is set to teach middle-school students from a science textbook he translated to Yoruba with other four graduate student collaborators from University of Ibadan, Nigeria.
Adebayo, a Mellon Fellow at the Tulane University, began translation of Longman’s Basic Science 1 into the Yoruba language for seventh-graders last year.
He achieved the feat through the Andrew Mellon Fellowship in Community Engaged Scholarship he received in 2017.
According to Tulane University, his plan is to collaborate with seven schools, where he and the graduate students will teach from the translated text and perform scientific demonstrations with the help of local science teachers from those schools.
“The idea is to get feedback from them regarding how our translation can be improved to meet their classroom needs and how we can design the translation so that it is accessible not only to the students but also to the teachers, as well as parents who read in Yoruba,” said Adebayo, who is pursuing a PhD in linguistics.
“The idea is to get feedback from them regarding how our translation can be improved to meet their classroom needs.”
Adebayo has been discussing the project with Mellon Fellow Janan Jayawickramarajah, a professor of chemistry in the School of Science and Engineering. In addition to providing Adebayo the perspective of a scientist and educator, Jayawickramarajah is providing materials for the scientific demonstrations, a statement on the school website reads.
Ryan McBride, administrative associate professor and director of the Mellon Graduate Program in Community-Engaged Scholarship, said, Adebayo’s Mellon project proposal cites a 2010 UNESCO policy brief that argues Africans should work to “plan late-exit or additive mother-tongue-based multilingual education, develop it boldly and implement it without delay.”
“His project suggests an approach that could allow kids who speak a language that is not widely used to think about science in their mother tongue, making science more accessible at an earlier age.”