The Master-Apprentice Language Learning Program (MAP) is a training program to help a language learner work with an elder speaker of a language in order to learn the language. AICLS designed this program because Native Californians are no longer learning their heritage language at home as children. All the native speakers of California languages are now elderly, and our languages are disappearing with them when they pass away. Yet many of the members of the Native communities want to learn their language and keep it from dying. This is a possible solution.
You can’t learn a language just overnight. It takes years, and many hours every week during those years. MAP is a program that can get you started through intensive one-on-one teaching and learning. The program is based on these principles:
10 points of language learning (from How to Keep Your Language Alive)
1. Leave English Behind – Learn your language through “immersion sets”
2. Make yourself understood with nonverbal communication – Understand and be understood through pictures, actions, gestures, and activities
3. Teach in full sentences – Get away from word lists
4. Aim for real communication in your language – Learn language you can use every day in real life
5. Language is also culture – Learn and do traditional activities
6. focus on listening and speaking – You are learning conversation, not reading
7. Learn and teach the language through activities – Cook together, eat together, clean house, go fishing, do your daily lives together in the language
8. Use audio and video recording – Document your time together, and use the recordings to practice your language
9. Be an active learner – Apprentice can take charge of his/her own learning – learn to ask for language, IN the language
10. Be sensitive to each other’s needs; be patient and proud of each other and yourselves!
Have fun, too!!
All these points and more are covered in the training workshops, along with fun exercises illustrating and exemplifying how you will be working together. How to Keep Your Language Alive is the manual for MAP. We provide each team with a copy at the training; it can also be ordered from www.heydaybooks.com . After the training, the team works together on their own, and will be assigned a mentor who you can talk to regularly on the phone. A team is expected to work together in the language 10 hours or more per week. A small stipend is given for your work.
MAP has become very popular – it’s being used in many places now besides California. It is used by tribes around the US and Canada, and more recently in Australia as well. Indigenous people around the world are trying to keep their languages alive, and this is one way to get started.
Applicants apply as a team. Each member of the team must fill out and submit the application form and also attend a training and assessment before their application will be considered.
Applicants are considered for acceptance into the program according to the order in which they have completed these requirements. (If several applicants attend the same training, they will be considered in the order that they submitted their applications.) Note that even accepted applicants may have to be put on a waiting list if we do not have sufficient funding.