Here is a short summary written by Sosthène Guei, one of the graduate students on our research team in Côte d’Ivoire:
Working on the field is challenging and rewarding. Every day is a new experience interacting with the team, children, teachers but also with villagers. It is a must for me to keep a positive attitude and be in the right mood to give my best. It all starts every morning with prayer, some push-ups and a hot cup of coffee. I then check the testing equipment if nothing is missing before leaving. We usually have a two-hour drive before getting to the field around 8:30. At this hour in the morning students are already in class and easier for us to unpack and set up the materials. We set up for about 15 mn – chairs & tables, testing books, action cameras, stop watches and forms ready to start. Depending on the grade we’ve decided to test for the day, a class list is provided by the school Director and each experimenter choose a student in the classroom. They are tested each for about 1h30 in the different language assessment tools developed by the team. When the test is completed, children are rewarded with stickers, pencils, sharpeners and are offered cookies and candies. We take a break at 12 pm to share a meal generally cooked by the wonderful women of the team or we are sometimes offered lunch by teachers. Then afterwards, we discuss the challenges some of the team members experienced with children. We resume tests in the afternoon from 12:30 to end at 5:30 pm. Basically, we test about 12 students in a whole day. We collect the forms used by the team and pack the materials in the car. We leave the field at 6 pm to get back to Abidjan at around 9 pm.