2014 Summer Institute Report
The NALRC held its annual Summer Institute program from May 19th to May 30th 2014 at the Courtyard Marriott Hotel in Bloomington, Indiana. The institute involved an intensive two week training session for language instructors and professionals. The institute fellows came from nine different institutions across the United States and from Nigeria. Languages represented at the Institute were Arabic, Hausa, Igbo, Swahili Wolof and Yoruba.
The Institute focused on applying field-tested Second Language Acquisition (SLA) techniques and standards to African language pedagogy. Instructor Steve Timm who has led past Summer Institutes since 2004 was joined by Andrea Poulos, who brought in her invaluable experience as an Instructor for English as a Second Language at University of Wisconsin-Madison
Even though this year’s institute was the 15th annual workshop, it was the second time it was being hosted at Indiana University, the current home of NALRC. The participants were welcomed by Dr. Samuel Obeng, Director, African Studies Program, Indiana University, Bloomington.
In the first week, institute fellows learnt how to incorporate multi-skills activities and assessment as part of their instruction routine. They also learnt techniques of being able to adapt to the different language learning styles of the learners. Teaching a foreign language in the context of native speakers was highly emphasized to the fellows.
Steve Timm used Italian as an example in demonstrating how to carry out effective language instruction and utilizing platforms of meaningful communication in the target language. Instructors learnt the efficacy of setting proficiency targets before language classes and doing evaluations for improvement of teaching delivery. Each institute participant subsequently had several opportunities to conduct mini-lessons in their own respective target languages and to practice and employ the techniques that they had learnt in the workshop. The opportunity for collaboration and discussion among peers was vital to the participants throughout the workshop.
By the end of the institute participants had gained a deeper understanding of creating a student-centered learning environment in their classes constantly reflecting on what learning style best suits their learners in each class. A unique aspect of this institute is that it enables the fellows to be able to critic each other’s teaching methods while receiving constructive feedback from their colleagues, many of whom are learning the languages used in the demos for the first time. All of the participants expressed their delight at having been part of the institute and looked forward to practicing the knowledge they had learned in the institute.
The institute concluded with an awards ceremony on May 31st, 2014 at Marriott Courtyard Hotel which was chaired by Professor Eyamba Bokamba, Professor of African Linguistics, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign At the awards ceremony, participants organized four presentations in the form of music, cultural dances, participants' reflections on their experiences during the program, and a special presentation by the instructors to honor and commend the participants for all of their hard work during the two weeks.
Dr Bokamba called out the names of each participant while Dr. Antonia Schleicher, Director of the National African Language Resource Center handed over the certificates to all the participants. Dr. Schleicher also thanked the participants, instructors and Indiana University for making this a successful event.
The following participants received certificates of completion from the NALRC Summer Institute:
Abubakar Idris Michigan State University Hausa
Adeniyi Akangbe University of Ibadan, Nigeria Yoruba
Adeyemi Adeyinka University of Ibadan, Nigeria Yoruba
Deogratias Tungaraza Indiana University Swahili
Edwin Okong'O University of California, Berkeley Swahili
Francis Mwanzia Indiana University Swahili
Islamiyyah Sanusi C.A.K.E Village, Chicago Yoruba
Khady Diene University of Maryland Wolof
Nneka Agba Boston University Igbo
Sekinat Arimiyau Lagos State University Arabic
Taiwo Ehineni Indiana University Yoruba
Wasan Tawfeeq Florida State University Arabic