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2015 Summer Institute Report

The NALRC held its annual Summer Institute program from May 18th to May 29th 2015 at the at the Indiana University School of Education 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 Hausa, Ibibio, 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 Esther Lisanza, who is seasoned and trained a lead instructor from the previous year workshops from Winston Salem State University. Though this year’s institute was the 16th annual workshop, it was the third 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 30th, 2015 at Marriott Courtyard Hotel which was chaired by Dr Adeolu Ademoyo from Cornell University. At the awards ceremony, participants organized six 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.

At the end of the training, the  following participants received certificates of completion from the NALRC Summer Institute:

Arfang Dabo                             Michigan  State University       Wolof

FATOKUN, William Funmiso     Federal College of Education  Yoruba

Itoro Michael                           University of Uyo                     Ibibio

Lamine Diallo                           Boston University                    Wolof

Mohamed Mwamzandi             UNC Chapel Hill                        Swahili

Mudasiru Abayomi                    Federal College of Education  Yoruba

Usman Ahmad                          Indiana University                   Hausa

Victor Alabi                              Indiana University                  Yoruba

Zeid Omar                                Suza University, Tanzania        Swahili