Course Outline

Startalk Professional Development Course for Swahili Instructors: Theory and Practice

Summer 2014 Location: Indiana University 
                                   310 S. College Avenue, 
                                   Room 7195
                                   BloomingtonIN 47404

PROGRAM DIRECTOR: Dr. Antonia Folarin Schleicher

INSTRUCTORS: Dr. Antonia Folarin Schleicher, AS Indiana University), Dr. Alwiya Saleh Omar, AO     (Indiana University),       Dr. Kiarie John Wa Njogu, KW  (Yale University)  
Office: 708 Eigenmann Hall 
Telephone: 812-856-4185 (Secretariat Office)

The NCOLCTL Swahili Startalk Professional Development Program is a three-week hands-on training of prospective and new teachers of Swahili at the post-secondary level. The program will be organized at Indiana University, Bloomington, IN. There are two parts to this program. The first week of the program is a non-residential distance learning session where individual participant will use the UW-Madison LI and NCOLCTL Online Teaching Methods Course. The second part of the program is a two-week residential program in Bloomington. During the first part of the program, participants will study theoretical aspects of teaching African languages and LCTLs in general. The participants are required to complete especially the third module of the online course before they arrive in Bloomington.  The purpose of the distance learning portion is to give the participants the opportunity to be familiar with some theoretical aspects of SLA so that the residential portion of the program will be mostly hands-on.  The residential program will provide the participants with hands-on training on the implementation of standards-based curriculum and instruction, backward curriculum design model and the communicative approach. During the first week of the residential program, the instructors will introduce the participants to the critical concepts of standards based instruction, understanding by design, use of target language, authentic materials, performance objectives and other goals of the workshop through a combination of lectures, discussions, hands-on activities, and micro-lesson presentations to get a clear understanding of the basic concepts of teaching Swahili as a foreign language. The second week of the residential program will involve the practicum.  During this period, participants will teach Swahili to volunteer students to implement all the critical concepts that they learned and observed in action from the coaching Master Teachers during the first week.  They will receive feedback on their teaching activities.  

Where applicable, the program will consider instructors who have been teaching Swahili for a long time but have never had the opportunity to participate in this kind of professional development programs. NCOLCTL will issue a certificate of completion to all the participants that successfully complete the program.

Major Focus of the Program 

    •    Standards-based Instruction
    •    Backward Curriculum Design
    •    Use of target Language
    •    Proficiency-Based Approach to FL Instructionp
    •    Strategies for Providing Comprehensible Input 


Prerequisite: Participants must be native or near native speakers of Swahili. Advanced level speakers of the language will also be considered for the course.

Readings: This course is not a lecture course. Thoughtful reading is a high priority. Read all that you can, both on the syllabus and even beyond the titles given, by following up on interesting references from the bibliographies in the required readings. Come to class well-prepared to join in the class discussions. Your readiness to participate in the discussions or the lack of it will reflect in your class discussion. Please don’t come to class to merely take notes from those who have prepared. Everyone is expected to participate in the discussions.

Micro-teaching: You will teach or illustrate a module in the area given on the syllabus. For the modules on the three modes of communication re: interpersonal, interpretive, and presentational modes, you will teach Swahili to volunteer students. These modules may be based on the themes and lesson plans agreed upon by you and the instructors.  Demos should last approximately 15-20 minutes. Any handouts, visuals, or board work should be done exactly as if in class. The goal is to DO the demo, not to tell us ABOUT it. You should turn in a written lesson plan for each demo and, a brief written self-critique of your teaching of the demo after you are done. 

Assessment of Participants’ Progress and Performance

Evidence/Products Brief description
Standards-based syllabus/ unit/lesson design Participants will design standards-based thematic syllabus/units/lessons.
Teaching demos Participants will use volunteers and non-native speakers of Swahili to practice teaching.
Daily written reflections Participants will keep a daily journal and reflect on lectures and/or readings designated by the program.
Daily forum on material selection and adaptation Throughout the program, participants will take turns sharing their analysis (e.g., pros and cons, recommendations for improvement, possible adaptation) of materials (e.g., textbooks, CDs, DVDs).
Unprompted evidence - Classroom discussions Participants will have group discussions on readings and presentations.
Observations and feedback Participants will observe the teaching of Master teachers and peer teachers and provide feedback.
Self-assessment Participants will conduct pre-and post-program self-assessment using TELL Self-Assessment.
E-Portfolio on Google Site Participants will create an E-Portfolio that documents their learning and products created in the program. Components of the E-Portfolio include unit/lesson plans, material critiques, observation logs, a self-assessment list, etc.


The instructors will guide you with respect to the above expectations. Issuing of certificates will depend on successful performance of course requirements. Please feel free to ask any questions that you may have with regards to the course.The

ATTENDANCE: Attendance counts towards your successful participation in this program. It is impossible for you to participate in class discussions if you are not in class. Coming late to class will affect your participation so please plan to arrive on time every day.

Remember to turn off your cellular phones as you come into the classroom. Side talks that distract others from learning or concentrating should be avoided.

Discussion of Online Teaching Methods Course Questions:

1.  How is learning/teaching an African language
     different from learning/teaching a language such
     as French, Spanish, or German?
2.  How might you address a conflict of styles, if the
     way you teach conflicts with the way your
     students learn?
3.  Why should listening and reading be actively
     taught in African language courses?
4.  When it comes to the teaching of cultural
     understanding in a language class, there are two
     opposing views.  One view is “teaching       
     language through culture” while the other is
     “teaching culture through language”.  Discuss in
     detail each of these views, noting the advantages
     and disadvantages of each view.  In your own
     opinion, discuss which view supports the basic
     tenets of the communicative approach and
     illustrate how you would use this view to teach a
     culture topic of your choice in a language class.
5.  How might you incorporate your students’
     academic interests into their language studies?


Course Outline

Date Evidence/Products Brief description
Day 1: Introduction to the class

Focus Questions:

1.  How would you rate yourself as a Foreign Language teacher?   

2. What are Startalk endorsed principles and characteristics of effective language lessons?         

3. How do you plan learning experiences based on National Standards?    

4. What are the three communicative modes?

5. How can you prepare a lesson plan that will target one mode of communication or the other?

-Go over the syllabus (AS)
-Introduce the Workshop. (AS)
-Get to know each other. (AS)
-Google group e-mail and google site for posting documents (AO)
-Discuss TELL Self-Assessment. (AS)
-Discuss Online Teaching Methods Questions (AS)
-Discuss STARTALK-Endorsed Principles and Characteristics of Effective Lang Lessons (AS)

- Discuss National Standards- Implementing Standards-Based Thematically Organized Curriculum Coded in Three Modes of Communication.  (AO)

- Look at a video of a lesson and identify various activities by mode. (AO)                                              

- Master Teacher gives a demo based on one mode of communication with a clearly defined lesson plan (AS-Interpersonal Mode; AO- Interpretive Mode (listening); KW-Presentational Mode-Writing; EM-Presentational Mode-Speaking) 

Day 2:Using Units based on Proficiency Targets and Backward Design Principles




Focus Questions

1.  What does "Proficiency" mean? 
2.  Why are they important for planning instructional objectives?

3.  How are the levels defined?        

  • What are reasonable expectations for attaining proficiency in a school setting?

4.  What is the difference between the "traditional grammar approach" and the "proficiency" approach?

5.  Why should I use the proficiency approach if it's not the way I learn?

6.  What are performance objectives and tasks?

a. Discuss what proficiency means and why they are important for planning instructional objectives. (AS)                                              

b. Explore the ACTFL proficiency website, looking at various examples at different proficiency levels (AO)

c. Write learning targets for a particular unit for each mode and create and teach a lesson that incorporates one or more modes of communication. (AO, KW, EM)

d. Design a brochure for your language course in which you explain the proficiency concept and the different levels of proficiency. (AO and KW)         

e. Make a presentation in your department in which you explain to them your department’s switch from a traditional approach of language teaching to a proficiency-based approach. (KW) 





Day 3: Use Backward Curriculum Design Process to plan lessons that lead students to meet / Thematic Units and Lesson Plans


Focus Question

1. What is Backward Design?

2.  How does Backward Design differ from the Traditional Curriculum Design?

3.  What are Performance Objectives?

4. What are components of a good lesson plan?   

5. What are the major issues in curriculum development in language instruction? (Backward Curriculum Design)

a.  Discussion on Backward Curriculum Design (AO).

b. Explore the components of a lesson plan based on principles of Backward Curriculum Design. (AS).

c. Explore what performance objectives are and what they are not. (KW and AO ).

d. Look at different lesson plans and identify which lesson plans are based on Backward design and those that are not. (AO and KW).

e. Project:  Design a syllabus/unit and lesson plans in Groups by themes (AO/KW/EM).

Day 4: Thematic Unit / Lesson Plan Continues / Use of Target Lang. / Comprehen-sive Input / Strategies for Providing Comprehen-sive Input

Focus Questions:

1. How do you plan a Unit / a lesson? 

2. Why is it so critical to use the Target language 90% or more in a foreign language classroom?



3. Can one use the Target language 90% or more at the elementary level?



4. What are strategies and tools frequently used to make language comprehensible?

5. How can I be sure the language I use each day will be comprehensible?

6. How do we teach grammar in a communicative oriented classroom? 
7. Should students’ oral errors be corrected in the language-learning process? If not, why not?

a. Participants present their assignments on Thematic Syllabus/Units and Lesson Plans  (AO and KW)

b. Lecture and group discussion on the Use of Target Language  (AS).

c. Watch a video of a lesson where the target language is used at least 90% of the time and discuss the strategies used to maintain the level of target language while ensuring understanding. (AO- Use Zablon's Startalk video)

d. Demos: 

  • Project:  Observe a lesson using 90% or more of target language. (AO)
  • Project:  Choose a comprehensible input strategy and demonstrate how it is used (EM)
  • Project:  Observe a lesson based on performance objectives targeting one or two modes of communication and use 3 different strategies to check for comprehension (KW)



e. Project:  Master Teacher gives a 5-minute presentation to a group of new teachers about why comprehensible input is so important and she gives them 5 strategies they can use to make their input comprehensible. (EM).

Day 5: Teaching Vocabulary and Grammar in Context / Teaching Culture in Context

Focus Questions: 

1. What does it mean to teach Vocabulary in Context? 
2. How do we teach Grammar in Context? 
3. How can authentic materials be used in teaching comprehension skills in the lower proficiency ranges?

- Discussion of Teaching Vocabulary and Grammar in Context (KW and AO) 
- Discussion of Teaching Culture in Context (EM) 

****Microteaching by Swahili Master Teachers  with Volunteer Students and Debriefing****

• Demo on Teaching Vocabulary in Context (KW)

• Demo on Teaching Grammar in Context (AO) 
• Demo on Teaching Culture in Context (EM) 
-Instructors prepare participants for their microteaching, unit themes, lesson plans and debriefing.

Day 6 Micro-teaching by the participants and debriefing Micro-teaching by the participants and debriefing
Day 7 Micro-teaching by the participants and debriefing Micro-teaching by the participants and debriefing
Day 8 Micro-teaching by the participants and debriefing Micro-teaching by the participants and debriefing
Day 9 Micro-teaching by the participants and debriefing Micro-teaching by the participants and debriefing.
Day 10: Building a Communinity of Swahili Language Teaching Professionals  Focus Questions

1. How do you build a viable Swahili Program? 
2. What are the available professional organizations for Swahili instructors?
3. How do you build a support group for Swahili instructors?

4. How do you showcase your students’ performances?
5. How do you reach out to the Swahili speaking community as resources?


(All Instructors Participate in discussing these topics (KW, AO, EM)

  • Teacher Credentialing Pathways 
  • What Constitutes an Effective Swahili Language Program 
  • Networking for Professional Development and Growth 
  • Professional Organizations
  • Building Positive Community Relations and Gaining Support for Swahili Language Programs 
  • Showcasing Students Performances 
  • Community Resources

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