"What can I do with this?" Using existing language documentation for teaching and learning

Sapién, Racquel-María
Hirata-Edds, Tracy
Sapién, Racquel-María
Hirata-Edds, Tracy
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Documentation products created primarily for academic audiences have received criticism for their inaccessibility relative to revitalization needs of speech community members. For communities initiating revitalization projects that include a formal teaching component, existing resources may go unused because of their unsuitableness for language learning (Cope & Penfield 2011; Penfield & Tucker 2011; Rice 2011). Emerging documentation models seek to bridge gaps between different stakeholders (e.g. speech community members, academic linguists, teachers, learners, and/or administrators) by designing projects collaboratively from the outset with deliberate thought given to multiple potential end users (Czaykowska-Higgins 2009; Author 2007, 2010; Grinevald 2003; Penfield et al. 2008). Although thoughtfully planned collaborative projects are the ideal, speech community members often begin with existing documentation resources out of necessity. This presentation addresses the challenge of making best possible use of available documentation to develop curriculum, lessons, and materials that support revitalization. Whether formal grammatical descriptions or recordings discovered in someone's attic, with planning and creativity, documentation materials can be fashioned into supplemental and core support for language learning. Furthermore, making efficacious use of materials includes creating multiple learning tools from a single product. For example, a single recording might be revisited for different skills (e.g. listening, speaking, reading, writing), levels (e.g. beginner, intermediate, advanced), age groups (e.g. early childhood, adult), and/or settings (e.g. community classes, Head Start programs, high school courses). Some issues to consider when building materials for formal teaching include the intended audience's receptiveness to various topics and formats, honoring speech community members' conceptualizations of teaching and learning, and protecting the endangered language from dominance by majority language perspectives (see Meek and Messing 2007 for further discussion). Keeping in mind the multi-faceted interplay between these issues, this presentation draws from the authors' varied work with speakers, teachers, and learners of languages of North and South America, and provides case study examples of using existing documentation in curriculum, lesson, and materials development. Attention is paid to extracting maximal benefit from each product by illustrating multiple uses for a single piece of documentation. The authors seek to help answer the question, "What can I do with this?" by sharing ways one resource can morph into a variety of teaching and learning materials. This presentation provides a sense of what can be done within the confines of limited resources to help support communicatively-oriented language learning opportunities. REFERENCES Author. 2007. Author. 2010. Cope, Lida & Susan Penfield. 2011. Applied linguist needed: cross-disciplinary networking for revitalization and education in endangered language contexts. Language and Education 25 (4): 267-271. Czaykowska-Higgins, Ewa. 2009. Research Models, Community Engagement, and Linguistic Fieldwork: Reflections on Working within Canadian Indigenous Communities. Language Documentation & Conservation 3 (1): 15-50. Manoa: University of Hawai'i Press. Grinevald, Colette. 2003. Speakers and documentation of endangered languages. In P.K. Austin (Ed.) Language Documentation and Description 11: 52-72. London: Hans Rausing Endangered Languages Project. Penfield, Susan D., Angelina Serratos, Benjamin V. Tucker, Amelia Flores, Gilford Harper, Johnny Hill, and Nora Vasquez. 2008. Community collaborations: best practices for North American indigenous language documentation. International Journal of the Sociology of Language, 191:187-202. Penfield, Susan & Benjamin Tucker. 2011. From documenting to revitalizing an endangered language: Where do applied linguists fit? Language and Education 25 (4): 291–305. Rice, Sally. 2011. Applied Field Linguistics: delivering linguistic training to speakers of endangered languages. Language and Education 25 (4): 319-338. Meek, Barbra & Jacqueline Messing. 2007. Framing Indigenous Languages as Secondary to Matrix Languages. Anthropology & Education Quarterly 38: 9-118.
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