ERIC Number: ED462240
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2002
Reference Count: N/A
A Native Language Immersion Program for Adults: Reflections on Year 1.
Maracle, David Kanatawakhon; Richards, Merle
An adult immersion program in the Mohawk language took place in an Iroquois community in southern Ontario. The class was limited to 12 students who had taken a readiness course that introduced them to basic grammar and vocabulary. The class met daily in the relaxed setting of a house. The preparation and sharing of meals, the presence of fluent speakers, occasional group outings, and the use of materials such as pictures and word cards created a conversational context. The students retained less from the readiness course than anticipated, resulting in more time spent explaining simple grammar points than was expected. Students also kept asking for translations and explanations in English. This was counterproductive because they were not learning to listen, and instructors were forced to think and speak in English more than in Mohawk. Students who did best were those who had rich English usage and considerable academic background. However, knowledge of English interfered with learning Mohawk because of different underlying assumptions about relationships and time and space that made interpreting out of context difficult. Also, English relies on particles, whereas Mohawk relies on a large vocabulary. Speaking a language does not qualify one to teach it. Teachers who have learned the language as a second language themselves often recognize difficulties in learning the language that fluent speakers are unaware of. Planned course improvements are discussed. (TD)
Descriptors: Adult Education, American Indian Education, American Indian Languages, Conversational Language Courses, Foreign Countries, Immersion Programs, Interference (Language), Interviews, Language Fluency, Language Maintenance, Learning Strategies, Mnemonics, Nonschool Educational Programs, Second Language Instruction, Second Language Learning
For full text: http://jan.ucc.nau.edu/~jar/ILAC/.
Publication Type: Opinion Papers; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Canada