See What’s Out There: There’s more Iñupiat resources than you might think, although it may take a little bit of digging to find it. Much of the Iñupiat language resources that are available have been created for students and teachers, so take advantage of that and use them. Check out this document for a list of resources.
Allow Mistakes: Language learning is a scary thing, and it gets more difficult and frightening the older we get. Many students are apprehensive about speaking because they feel uncomfortable making mistakes, whether it is mistakes in pronunciation, getting words mixed up or in constructing their sentences. In a language class, it is important to create an environment where students are allowed to make mistakes. As children, we didn’t go from baby-talk straight to perfectly formed sentences. It was a process, and learning a language later in life is definitely a process that takes time and many mistakes.
Get Student Input: Several years ago, I attended a Where Are Your Keys (a language learning method) training session. At the end of each training session, we conducted a “pluses and deltas” session. This this where the students are invited to share what they thought went well or worked for them (“pluses” or + ), and what they would change about the lessons (“deltas” or Δ). The teacher writes down all suggestions and uses them to adapt their teaching strategies and approaches. What I liked about this is that it gets students to think about their learning, and it reframes the old “pros and cons” approach into something more active. The delta symbol (Δ) signifies change, while “con” simply implies negativity. When students share things that didn’t work for them, see it as an opportunity to adapt your teaching methods to best fit the needs of your particular class.
Communicate and Collaborate: Know other language teachers? Get their input. Even if you don’t teach the same language, other language teachers may have methods, lesson plans, and activities that you might find useful in your own class. You might even be able to collaborate with their classes through Skype, Google Hangout or Zoom.
Share: Got a great lesson plan? Do you have an activity that worked really well in your class? Share it with others.