Table of Contents
(For information about onboarding, go to this page)
Manuals in Language Acquisition Skills
- How to Learn Another Language. A practical guide written by Dr. Betty Sue Brewster based on the LAMP method. For learning almost any language. Some missionaries find LAMP too cumbersome: this handy simplified version gives all the essentials
Training in Language Acquisition
- Introduction to self-directed language learning (PowerPoint presentation) - developed by Beth E., a former L&O Coordinator for one of our fields
- Language Reboot > a one-week online course from Grow2Serve. The course asks you to invest 4-6 hours of learning time over an 8-day period. Language Reboot is designed for those who are currently living in a language-learning context, are committed to language fluency for the sake of effective cross-cultural Gospel ministry, and have already spent at least 6 months in an intentional program of language learning for at least 10 hours a week. If you are a current, experienced language learner and are committed to living and serving well in your cross-cultural context, this would be a good course for you.
A recommendation from one of our new workers who took the Language Reboot course: “I did the language reboot class about a year ago, and I found it really helpful. The main way it was helpful was in giving me a chance to sit down, evaluate my current approach/state, and then help me come up with renewed vision and goals for how to move forward. I appreciated that it approached language learning from the spiritual standpoint, and seemed really holistic (there was a section on spiritual and relational dynamics in relation to language learning, not just the mechanics of it). It was also nice that it wasn't too long and a huge time commitment - just enough to “reset” things. They did try to also give us some more resources - I haven't found myself really using those, but others might find it helpful.”
- PLANTS , a two-week course in second language acquisition at Mission Prep, located in Toronto, Canada.
- Second Language Acquisition, a two-week course at Center for Intercultural Training in Union Mills, NC
- Online Second Language Acquisition training from the Institute for Cross-Cultural Training (ICCT, Wheaton College) - 4 different programs
- Compass (includes training in Language Acquisition Techniques) from Mission Training International in Colorado
- Books recommended by a SEND missionary who teaches seminars in language acquisition
- Nunan, David. (1999). Second language teaching and learning. Boston: Heinle & Heinle.
- Scovel, Tom. (2001). Learning new languages: a guide to second language acquisition. Canada: Heinle & Heinle. Tom Scovel is a strong believer and a mentor to many Christian TESOL professionals.
- Agar, Michael. (1994). Language shock: Understanding the Culture of Conversation. New York: HarperCollins. Argues that one must learn culture hand in hand with language in order to understand and successfully communicate in that language.
- Rocket Chinese This might be a good thing for people to have before they live overseas, but with Chinese it is a concern that they will memorize incorrect pronunciation, no matter how advanced the voice recording software is. Once people are in country they can perform these same tasks with people instead of sitting at home with their computer. The importance of building relationships and practicing language in real time with real people cannot be overstressed. That being said, the way it is structured could give them some reinforcement before they perform certain tasks (similar to the Runway Languages). If people just view it as another tool and just a piece of their language learning process, that would be helpful.
- Growing Participator Approach This program has been successfully used by several SEND missionaries. It is similar to PILAT but with more guidance. Those who used the program found it was helpful if the “language nurturer” (teacher of helper) had been through some kind of training for this approach. These language nurturers can read the English manuals, or easily be instructed by members of the field's L&O staff that is fluent in the hose language. The link above takes you immediately to resources. Another helpful page is the description of the 6 Phases. The home screen on this website is a bit messy with interest articles and might be overwhelming for those looking for the facts.
- Language Learning Methods A discussion of three language learning methods.
- Evaluation of Language Software. Compare the most popular software for language learning and find out which works and which not. Find the best language learning software for your needs.
"Language Notes" - Tips in Language Acquisition
Evan Parks starting writing “Language Notes” in 2003. He reviewed them again recently and says that he still stands by what he said after all these years. He tries to provide a mixture of encouragement, language learning techniques, and ideas about how the mind works to learn new information. He hopes others will find them useful.
- Language Notes > Summary: Never give up. Use four basic tools: phonetics/listening, grammar, talking, recording/reviewing. Build a wide foundation early on. Pick a project and see it through to the end. Never give up.
- Language Notes 2 > Summary: 1. Your memory is delicate. Without rest, exercise, and a balanced life, it is hard for your memory to work at its optimal level. 2. We all get discouraged. Some of us are discouraged long enough that it begins to lead to other more serious symptoms. If even the thought of clipping your fingernails seems like a lot of work, something that needs to be planned when you have enough energy to do it, well, maybe you are discouraged with a capital 3. Everything you do on a daily basis, learn how to say it in your new language. Learn about 15 different daily routines and keep adding to them over the years.
- Language Notes > Summary: Language must be learned in context. To do this, try building conversations around common services, talk with helpers, ask questions about things to which you already know the answer, play games.
- Language Notes 4 > Summary: Never give up. When you cannot grasp a difficult concept, put it aside and come back to it later. Use words in context. Limit computer time.
- Language Notes 5 > Summary: Take responsibility for your own language learning. Includes four ideas for using a recorder in your language learning.
- Language Notes 6 > Summary: Language learning needs to be your new life-long habit.
- Language Notes 7 > Summary: Memorize literature in the language.
- Language Notes 8 > Summary: Take breaks. Memorize common phrases from the Bible. Write short prayers based on passages of Scripture.
- Language Notes 9 > Summary: Work at forming lasting friendships with the people in your new context. Keep a running list of news words and phrases.
- Language Notes 10 > Summary: Read a children's picture dictionary in the language. Write a daily journal in the language and ask someone to correct it for you.
Language Coach Training
- ICCT Language Coach Courses > 3 different courses offered by Wheaton College's Institute for Cross-cultural Training
Tracking Language Progress and Monthly Assessments:
- How do you track progress in language ability, and how do you decide how much involvement a missionary can have in ministry at each different language fluency level? Macedonia has developed L&O Milestones that explain what is expected of a missionary in language study in their ability to use the language and in their involvement in ministry and the team activities.
- Language Progress Report > a form developed by SEND Spain to help track language progress of on-field missionaries
- Language & Transition Update > developed by a SEND area and due once a month
- Japan's Language and Culture Learning Program
If you are looking for resources on cultural adjustment, click here.