Language teachers all over the globe are starting to get more creative with their curricula. One noteworthy example of this is the book Mangajin’s Basic Japanese Through Comics, which has students translating speech bubbles in order to get their beloved manga fix.
While underrepresented, there has likewise been a surge of creativity in Native language instruction. The Living Languages blog recently made a post about the new Seneca Language Revitalization and Documentation blog, which reports Seneca language teachers are using commercially marketed software to produce slideshows (Animoto), 3D animated movies (Xtranormal, State) and comics (ToonDoo) for the purpose of teaching people Seneca. They’re using the TPR (Total Physical Response) method of language pedagogy, which essentially encourages pairing language instruction with other physical or mental activities (watching movies, playing games, etc.).
Bo Taylor of the North Carolina Cherokee is also using this method in teaching Cherokee language classes at the Museum of Cherokee Indians. The deadline for applications was March 3th as classes have been running from March 12th till March 19th from 8:00 – 4:30, but perhaps there’s next year. They North Carolina Cherokee are also using Snellen eye charts with the Cherokee syllabary, which were previously reported in use among the Oklahoma Cherokee in a Janine Sancarelli article. Remember, you can download printable Cherokee syllabary flash cards at cherokee.saivus.org.
About 19 Oklahoma Cherokee are using their language in 3rd-5th grade basketball games. According to one player mentioned in a Cherokee Phoenix article, Cherokee is not well suited for this, as most words are polysyllabic. However, it motivates them to learn in order to enhance teamwork, and enables them to hide commands from non-Cherokee speaking people. Warfare may have been a factor in why languages are designed to vary so much within certain parameters. Also in the spirit of competition, the Creek Nation added Creek language questions to their Challenge Bowl.
In East Peoria, Illinois Rev. Dan Lybarger, who acquired Cherokee from his great uncle at a young age, is teaching Cherokee to 40 – 70 year old Christians on two Tuesdays each month at the Native American Fellowship Dayspring Church there.