Last week our class passed an epic waystation. On Wednesday we completed Nsyilxcn 1 with a written exam, oral exams, a community celebration, and a language planning meeting. My heart sang. It was a very full day and a full house and I was proud to see the students speaking their Nsyilxcn presentations with so much confidence and enthusiasm and humour. I filmed the presentations and they were good! We had a great turnout with Chief and Council from OIB, the Chief of PIB, two Elders and an assortment of educators and family members. Our new student joined the class and we will have one more join next week. During the feedback session we asked and answered three questions: What are the best parts of this program? What have we missed? How do you see this being incorporated in your community (and what can you do to help)? I wrote a detailed feedback report with summaries and comments made by participants and guests. I will need to put the N1 film together for community feedback as well as assessment research (and C’aris volunteered to help with the editing).
On Thursday we were back to business as usual, with a dramatic switch—we started Captíkʷł 1. I already feel like Nsyilxcn 1 is far behind us and there is no going back. Mlmltiłpálqʷs and I taught the entire first story, Coyote and Horse, Set 1, Set 2, Set 3, and then a review session of Nsyilxcn 1 lessons. It was so much fun to teach at a slightly higher level—with content! That is the whole point of language—to transmit meaning and content. There was real enthusiasm in the class, and a lot of focus. Students were focusing on each word to get the content and meaning of the story. By the afternoon we were acting out the story, TPR-style, with a lot of laughter and full comprehension. For the last teaching set of the day, Mlmltiłpálqʷs and I led a review session. Remember that constant review is just as important as the original learning. We reviewed the first five lessons from N1, plus several songs. We practiced a funny dialogue, asking and answering more complex sentences from the “physical descriptions” lesson--ha q̓uct anáxʷnəxʷ? lut t̓ə q̓uct inaxʷnəxʷ. ha t̓ət̓q̓álaʔqʷ asx̌íwi̓? is your wife fat? No my wife is not fat, is your husband short?
On Friday we had an amazing teacher training session. We practiced the teaching method and lesson plan for Captíkʷł 1 story, complete with TPR (Total Physical Response) techniques. We are raising the bar and challenging ourselves as teachers to use more of the full teaching commands from Paul Creek’s Direct Acquisition Manual. We are excited to delve into Captíkʷł 1 stories.
This week we are teaching two Captíkʷł 1 stories and I am finalizing the ALI FPCC funding grant proposal.
I was just reminded to take a moment and celebrate. We completed Nsyilxcn 1! And now we are happily settling into our workload. This has to be the most satisfying work on earth. I am so grateful to the Salish School of Spokane for creating this language curriculum which is so cutting edge it almost teaches itself. All that is required is to create a healthy language environment with no distractions and support and a lot of love.