NILI Online: Teacher Development Series
NILI is now in the second year of offering a series of three online, teacher development classes. These classes are geared towards teachers of Native language working in diverse settings, such as traditional schools, immersion classrooms, or even those teaching language in the home. Through the generous support of the UO office of Academic Extension, we piloted the series of classes in the 2014-2015 school year.
The participants in the classes are quite diverse. At present we have worked with approximately 28 teachers with over 16 different tribal affiliations. Including our current class enrollment, we have worked with teachers from across 6 states who teach the following languages: Ichishkíin (Yakama, Warm Springs and Umatilla dialects), Lushootseed, Choctaw (Mississippi and Oklahoma), Makah, Tolowa-Dee-ni’, Yuki, Cherokee, Kiowa, Takelma, Wailaki and Snchitsu’umshtsn. Though people are working on languages that are quite different from one another – sometimes as different as English is from Japanese – the groups bond and grow close in the online class, sharing similar stories of working with endangered languages, learning from one another and struggling to both teach as well as learn their languages at the same time.
Taught completely online, various NILI faculty are able to offer their expertise in these classes as a team: Judith Fernandes uses her many years of immersion school experience to cover issues of curriculum, lesson planning and classroom management; Janne Underinner utilizes her vast experience teaching chinuk wawa and Klammath, as well as her linguistic expertise in teaching sound systems; Joana Jansen brings her background as a linguist and teacher of Ichishkíin language, a researcher and analyzer of pedagogical grammar; and Robert Elliott orchestrates the online components and delivery of the course.
Registration for the Winter 2016 course (beginning January 4), “Teaching your Language to Others”, is now open, and registration for the Spring 2016 course (beginning March 28), “Enriching Language Communities,” will open this winter.
[expand title=”Fall Term – Lifelong Language Learning“]
This is the first in a series of three online professional development courses designed for teachers of Native American languages. Many Native language teachers are themselves learners of their heritage language. This class is designed to support Native language teachers by building lifelong language learning skills with a language first approach. We will focus on developing skills for independent, long-term learning of language.
Specifically we will address issues such as building learning communities, accessing language resources, making use of learning strategies, setting goals, monitoring progress, and improving or maintaining motivation. Particular challenges to many Native languages-such as small speaking communities and unique sound systems-will be covered. The class will be online, asynchronous and discussion based, and it will be centered on a series of weekly readings, resources, discussions and tasks.[/expand]
[expand title=”Winter Term – Teaching your Language to Others“]
This is the second in a series of three online professional development courses designed for teachers of Native American languages. Becoming a Native language teacher can be about teaching your own children, becoming a language mentor, or becoming a formal teacher in a school or language program. With Indigenous language teaching what methods work? What doesn’t work? How can we best serve our learners?
This course is designed to expand your “toolkit” so you can better share and teach your language with others. We will cover topics ranging from needs assessment, curriculum planning, writing objectives, community engagement, and language in the home. The class will be online, asynchronous and discussion based, and it will be centered on a series of weekly readings, resources, discussions and tasks.[/expand]
[expand title=”Spring Term – Enriching Language Communities“]
This is the third in a series of three online professional development courses for teachers of Native American languages. This course is designed to encourage reflective teaching and learning, with the goal of becoming a better teacher or learner. Native language teachers and learners in many cases need to develop or adapt materials and strategies, and a reflective approach allows us to evaluate how and whether what we are doing is working.
Building upon the past two courses in the series participants will identify a change they wish to make either in their teaching, with their classes, in their communities, or in their own learning. They will begin by defining a need or gap and design a strategy to address it, asking: “How can I improve my teaching or learning?” Participants will then implement their strategy and reflect on the effectiveness of the change. The class will be online, asynchronous and discussion based, and it will be centered on a series of weekly readings, resources, discussions and tasks.[/expand]
During the 2012-2013 academic year, NILI partnered to join the Ichishkíin language classes of University of Oregon with Heritage University on the Yakama Nation.