The Weekly Sam: A Testimonial from a teacher in Zimbabwe


A testimonial on how I found out about the Blumenfeld Approach.

My name is Godknows Matizirofa. I am the Director Nottingham Junior School, a private
School located in one of the marginalized areas of Zimbabwe. The school currently has an
enrolment of 350 learners [students] from the local community. I founded the school to assist students
whose parents had failed dismally to provide transport fares to the nearest schools due to the
economic turmoil in our country. The school is situated about 10 kilometers away. In
addition to that, I wanted to address reading deficiencies amongst students from my
community. Most of them could hardly write and speak English fluently and thus Nottingham
Junior School was founded in January 2019.

As a qualified teacher, I had taught upper grades in publics schools for almost 14years. It
was now a challenge to teach phonic sounds to the beginners at our school.  In October 2020, I
embarked on a research program for the appropriate methods and books to use in teaching
phonic sounds and I was lucky to come across the Blumenfeld E-book (the one which had
lesson plans). I found it on a site called I perused it and learnt a lot about
how to teach phonic sounds to the beginners of English and not only that but the approach is
also effective when remedying learners.

In the same month, I launched a WhatsAppp  platform titled “Eastview Free English Lessons For
Non & Beginners of English “Eastview is the name of the suburb where we live.  This program
succeeded as I managed to teach learners lessons from 1 to 10 free of charge.  During that
time, our country was on lockdown and schools had not been opened.  I stopped the lessons in
March when I had a challenge with the phone I was using.  We continued with the
implementation of the Blumenfeld approach at our institution.  Right now our teachers are at
lesson 11 and we are happy that the community has also understood and accepted the new

Before the use of the Blumenfeld approach, we were used to various disorganized teaching
approaches whereby learners would be exposed to “word picture matching approach and the
other one of teaching phonic sounds and then have the child attack words instantly”. The child
would be made to read words without following any order, for example, reading words such as
look, up, down, see, go, at, the, come just after learning sounds.  In short, the method
encouraged cramming. As I am penning down this, I am the happiest person ever in the world
and I would like to thank the late Dr. Sam Blumenfeld for dedicating much of his time in
coming up with a well thought out and effective approach that has and is still going along way
in ameliorating reading challenges amongst the young minds. We could probably be the first school in Zimbabwe to be using this approach. I have also introduced it to a number of my colleagues, including the Headmaster of my former school.

On behalf of Nottingham Junior School, we promise to continue working hard in the
implementation of the Blumenfeld approach amongst learners from my community and
country at large. I would also like to thank Mr. Hal Shurtleff of Camp Constitution and whoever
he shared our plea with for a quick and positive response to my request for a donation of
reading material even before they had not investigated on whether I was genuine or not.

I believe the Spirit of the living God led you to have trust in us.  I would like to also thank Mr. Hal
for linking me to Dr. Hammond’s website      where I have since benefited a lot with Christian
sermons and eBooks that are posted there. Your assistance is paramount, and I wish that it
must not be limited to us but continue across the globe. Our staff is grateful for the
donation extended to us though we are yet to receive it.  We pray that the parcel will get to our
hands. As soon as we receive it, we will notify you.  May the Almighty God and the love and
grace of our lord Jesus Christ richly bless everyone at Camp Constitution.
Inserted are the pictures of our students and teachers conducting lesson demonstrations
using the Blumenfeld approach.

[A link to the Sam Blumenfeld Archive ]