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Summer Institute 2006 Report

From Tuesday, May 30, through Friday, June 9, the NALRC hosted the 7th annual Summer Institute for Teachers of African Languages. Eleven teachers of African languages from across the country attended this year's institute, bringing the total number of teaching assistants, lecturers, instructors, and professors of African languages trained by the NALRC to 102.

The 2006 Instructors were Steve Timm and Joe Nosek, UW-Madison ESL teachers and practitioners of diverse pedagogical theories for the language classroom. During the first week of the Institute, Mr. Timm taught and modeled best practices for instruction in speaking, listening, reading, and writing skills. Mr. Nosek led the second week, presenting a variety of strategies for realizing vocabulary retention and providing meaningful assessment. The structure of the Institute focused on introducing participants to current theory and research-supported approaches, and then allowing the participants to plan and implement lessons using such approaches. Each lesson integrated speaking, listening, reading, and writing activities and the participants gained experience in formal and informal assessment of these skills.

This year's group was highly energetic and motivated. The teaching styles of Mr. Timm and Mr. Nosek, as well as the classroom atmosphere they cultivated, engendered a spirit of camaraderie and inventiveness. Participants were free to attempt lesson plans that incorporated new or experimental teaching methods in a critical, yet receptive environment.

The NALRC Summer Institute is quickly rising to the top of the list for professional development opportunities in African language pedagogy. As Hannah Essein, an Akan-Twi instructor from Indiana University, explained, "The significance and importance of the intensive Summer Institute in African languages can never be overemphasized."

On the last day of the institute, a closing ceremony was held at Buraka, on the States Street. Prof. Antonia Schleicher delivered a closing speech, congratulating all the fellows on the completion of their certificates and stressing the importance of the future generation of African language teachers. Reflections were given by Joscelyn Essegbey and Beatrice Bolger , and speeches were given by Steve Timm and Joe Nosek (who also prepared a short skit incorporating all five languages taught during the institute.) Adeolu Ademoyo gave the Vote of Thanks. Certificates were presented to the following 11 fellows:

  • Hannah Essien, Indiana University
  • Joscelyn Essegbey, University of Florida, Florida
  • Lucy Mkandawire, University of Wisconsin, Madison
  • Abdulwahid Mazrui, Indiana University
  • Ammina Kothari, University of Oregon, Eugene
  • Beatrice Bolger, University of Pennsylvania
  • Peter Muhati, University of Illinois, Urbana
  • Adeolu Ademoyo, Cornell University, Ithaca
  • Olubunmi Ashaolu, Stanford University, California
  • Oluseye Adesola, Yale University
  • Bala Saho, University of Illinois, Urbana