I have continued work on my goals, and I am not going to lie – writing this update was very difficult.
I have been feeling quite guilty as I work on the project. It’s not that I am not learning michif, (the other day thanks to my new labels and cheat sheets – I was able to conduct our entire morning routine and circle time completely in michif) or that my students aren’t learning michif (they respond to all of our morning circle prompts with 1-3 words in michif) It’s just that I have struggled to find a way to express my learning progress through social media.
I am certainly using social media to enhance my learning, in fact, the many Facebook Communities I have joined that focus on Metis culture have become my go-to source for inspiration or to connect me to virtual events where language might be spoken. Some of the professors and PhD students I have followed on Twitter I have been able to connect with, for help with small translations rather than reaching out to an Old One with a single question. My students LOVE Sam’s Facebook and Instagram lessons because they love to see another teacher speaking words they recognize. I aspire to get my life together enough to make some videos to respond to him!
I am also utilizing technology (if not exactly a social media platform) to continue my learning. I am only halfway through the Michif Lesson’s App I shared on my last project update, but I have to admit the app is not what I initially thought. There are really no “lessons”, instead, you have tab called “Review” with a vocabulary list in English and Michif with voice recordings so you can listen and then repeat each term. From there, it is a very simple multiple choice quiz on a variety of topics – with voice recordings of every term. You are provided with a word in Michif, and then you simply take a guess as to the English translation (or not a guess if you study well unlike me). It tells you if you are correct or incorrect, and although you can’t redo a question in the middle of a quiz – you can click on any of the topics and take any of the quizzes as many times as you like. There is really no progress to make as nothing is saved from each attempt. I appreciate the organization of the terms into categories for practice, and the little quizzes for aiding in memorization. I have not completed the app yet, but I am hoping as I progress I will see some sentences to translate in the quizzes. I am a little disappointed, it turns out I enjoy the challenge of something I need to progress through and have my progress recorded when I am learning.
Technology, especially social media has shaped my learning, and my progress in Michif thus far. I have spent nearly half as many hours locating and vetting sources with Noohkoom as I have actually practised language, but I feel comfortable with that knowing that I now have sources of knowledge to tap into when needed. It has certainly made this learning project feel less lonely, as well as renewed my hope by seeing how much work is being done in all of the dialects of the language in order to attempt to recover and reclaim it. I attended a Michif language Zoom last week where one of the guest presenters described the variety of dialects as “proof the language is strong and will endure” and I felt very ashamed of myself in that moment, for all the frustrations I have had sorting through sources that were incredible – but not helpful to me in my dialect.
For example this website from Metis researchers across British Columbia, so many resources! Lessons and units! Not in my chosen dialect! Should not have made me frustrated because I could not use it for my needs, it should have made me grateful that it exists for the needs of those attempting to do the exact same work I am with their own ancestor’s language dialects.
I am still stuck with how to finish this project off in a good way. I am not certain how to best utilize social media to communicate learning in a way that is authentic. Leave me your thoughts, your comments – any ideas are welcome at this point!