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Summer Institute 2004 Report


NALRC continued its mission to develop competent teachers for less commonly taught languages by hosting 5 th annual summer institute. Languages represented at this year's institute included: Amharic, Chichewa, IsiZulu, Kinyarwanda, Kiswahili, Lingala, and for the first time in history, Hindi. As stressed by the chief evaluator Prof. Bokamba, the inclusion of the latter language expanded the institute's focus on African Languages to less commonly taught languages generally.

The institute consisted of a workshop from June 1 st to June 14 th. It was attended by 16 institute fellows from different institutions of higher learning in the United States and Africa; 1 evaluator from the University of Illinois, 1 guest from Indiana University, 2 institute leaders from UW-Madison, and the Director of NALRC, Prof. Antonia Schleicher. To date, NALRC is proud to announce that a total of 75 teaching assistants (TAs), lecturers, and faculty members have received training from the institute.

The goal of promoting less commonly taught languages in the education system of the United States was carried a step further by the commitment and zeal that both the instructors and participants showed during the two week workshop. This year's institute was designed to promote not just the teaching and assessing of African languages but also the teaching of African Languages in a manner that was precise, fun, and creative for maximum retention of knowledge acquired by participants.

The institute was comprised of 3 main areas namely: Teaching the skills of speaking and writing in the African Language classroom, teaching the skills of listening and reading in the African Language classroom, testing and assessing the four skills in the African Language classroom.

The Institute kicked off with opening remarks from the director of the NALRC, Prof. Antonia Schleicher. This was followed by short orientation remarks by the NALRC staff. Later, the two instructors took the students on an orientation tour to the English as a Second Language (ESL) lab which served as the resource room for the participants.

The first week saw an intensive, yet fun workshop, led by Steve Tim and Kathy Moulton whose enthusiasm and expertise left the participants asking for more. They oversaw the presentations of numerous micro lessons in different languages that focused on the skills of speaking and listening while at the same time injecting an atmosphere that was fun and relaxing. During the second week, Moulton led the institute in reading and writing and in the assessment of the four skills in the classroom.

Present also during the second week to the delight of the participants was Prof. Eyamba Bokamba of the University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign who apart from being a participant was also the chief evaluator of the whole institute. In addition, Prof. Alwiya Omar of Indiana University also made guest appearances at the workshop despite her tight schedule because she was in town working on the K-12 project at the NALRC.

Although the syllabus was tight and preparation for the following day's lessons was almost overwhelming, the participants came up with a way to relieve stress during recess times by dancing to and eventually practicing for actual performance the South African ‘Gumboot dance' which was led by Moses ‘Mouzzi' Hadebe institute fellow from Indiana University. For most, it was the best thing that could have happened to us!

The participants also enjoyed some wonderful evenings at the UW-Madison's Memorial Union's Terrace which overlooks the beautiful Lake Mendota and which is a stone's throw from both the venue of the workshop and the participants' residence hall. The beauty of these social gatherings was that the instructors were always there with the students which made it really fun.

The closing ceremony was graced by the following scholars: Prof. Aliko Songolo, who chaired the ceremony for the third year running and who is the Director of the African Studies program and professor of French and African Languages and Literature, welcomed the participants; Prof. Sally Magnan, who is the director of the Language Institute (L I), spoke briefly on L I's mission, which is to foster and promote the study of multi languages on campus and in the community by giving information to schools and the community; Prof. AlwiyaOmar, who is the current President of ALTA, urged the participants to implement what they had learned and to continue collaborating and communicating with each other through emails or other means. Omar proposed the participants set up a website where they can communicate with each other regularly and have issues of importance posted on the Web; Prof. Magdalena Hauna;who is the Associate dean in the College of Letters and Sciences at UW- Madison, hailed different participants whom she noted came from not only different nationalities in Africa including India, but also from different academic disciplines which she said made a ‘fascinating collection of people to work together and learn from each other'; Prof. Antonia Schleicherwho is the director of the NALRC thanked the many guests for the crucial roles they have played in making NALRC what it is today; and finally Prof. Eyamba Bokambawho was present at the institute for the 5 th consecutive year was this year's program evaluator. He spoke on ‘expanding the vision of the NALRC' and stressed the NALRC was determined to leave no stone unturned and is thus expanding its vision in very creative ways to make sure that its objectives as a resource center are met.

Reflections were given by Abderrahmane Zouhir University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Malashri Gosh University of Illinois-Urbana Champaign, Wangari GichiruUniversity of Wisconsin-Madison, and Ernest Mohochi: Egerton University- Njoro, Kenya. Zoliswa Mali University of Iowa gave a vote of thanks. Certificates were presented to the following 16 fellows.

 

  1. Abderrahmane Zouhir University of Illionois at Urbana-Champaign
  2. Aboubeida Mudawi Ohio University
  3. Archna Bhatia University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
  4. Bezza T. Ayalew University of Addis Ababa
  5. Dumisile Mkhize University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
  6. Ernest Mohochi Egerton University/St. Lawrence University
  7. Esameddin Alhadi Ohio University
  8. Joseph Mugenga Ohio University
  9. Josephat Waruhiu Portland State University
  10. Malashri Gosh University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
  11. Muziwandile Hadebe Indiana University
  12. Nyambura Mpesha Calvin College
  13. Richard Nyirongo Ohio University
  14. Wangari Gichiru University of Wisconsin-Madison
  15. Wembo Lombela University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
  16. Zoliswa O. Mali University of Iowa