Language Development and Training Resources

Producing Culturally Relevant Language Development Teaching Materials

Many communities want help to preserve their language and culture as well as to improve the education of their children and community members. One way they can do this is by developing a Local Language Education Program.

This manual was designed to accompany a workshop in which community members work together to explore producing teaching materials using the language and culture that is closest to the student’s lives. The workshop process involves not only using the language that the students speak every day but also the other expressive communication forms from the student’s culture, which can assist the student in successful learning experiences. Some case studies will demonstrate various outcomes of this approach. In addition, several key theories are highlighted, showing their relationship to education in general as well as their relationship to the materials and the application of these materials in classroom contexts. In a workshop the participants explore the relationships between the creation process, the theoretical foundations, and the application of the materials.

The workshop participants learn about and create materials that can be used to develop listening, speaking, reading, writing, and creative/critical thinking skills. The materials can be used for teaching students of all ages, especially those who have not previously had the opportunity to develop strong language skills in their first language. The teaching methods for each kind of material can be adjusted according to the age and language development level of the students.

The materials include:

  • Songs and poems for language development, learning, and fun

  • Creative Sequencing Pictures to develop creative and critical thinking and speaking skills

  • Big Busy Pictures to develop speaking and creative thinking skills

  • Listening Stories to read aloud to students

  • Big Books and Small Books to teach L1 reading skills

  • A plan for a Group Experience Activity that the class will create a story about

The activities presented fall into one or more of these categories: Discover, Decide, and Develop. Each of these steps are very important to ensure the development of the best possible culturally based, interesting, and fun language development teaching materials.

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