Teaching Indigenous Language Revitalization over Zoom





Indigenous language revitalization, online learning, digital classroom, technology, COVID-19, pandemic


In this teaching reflection, co-authored by an instructor and a teaching assistant, we consider some of the unanticipated openings for deeper engagement that the “pivot” to online teaching provided as we planned and then delivered an introductory course on Indigenous language documentation, conservation, and revitalization from September to December 2020. We engage with the fast-growing literature on the shift to online teaching and contribute to an emerging scholarship on language revitalization mediated by digital technologies that predates the global pandemic and will endure beyond it. Our commentary covers our preparation over the summer months of 2020 and our adaptation to an entirely online learning management system, including integrating what we had learned from educational resources, academic research, and colleagues. We highlight how we cultivated a learning environment centered around flexibility, compassion, and responsiveness, while acknowledging the challenges of this new arrangement for instructors and students alike. Finally, as we reflect on some of the productive aspects of the online teaching environment—including adaptable technologies, flipped classrooms, and the balance between synchronous and asynchronous class meetings—we ask which of these may be constructively incorporated into face-to-face classrooms when in-person teaching resumes once more.


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Author Biographies

Maya Daurio, University of British Columbia

Maya Daurio is a PhD student in Anthropology at the University of British Columbia. Her research interests include language endangerment and maintenance, traditional ecological knowledge, social-ecological resilience, indigeneity, and mountain geographies. She previously worked in in Geographic Information Systems (GIS) and is interested in anthropological, ecological, and humanitarian applications of GIS.

Mark Turin, University of British Columbia

Mark Turin is a settler scholar and an Associate Professor at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver. Trained in anthropology and linguistics, Mark is cross-appointed between the Department of Anthropology and the Institute for Critical Indigenous Studies. Of Italo-Dutch heritage and raised in the United Kingdom, Mark has been working with Indigenous communities on collaborative language documentation and revitalization projects in Nepal, Bhutan and Northern India since the early 1990s, and in western Canada since 2015. He writes and teaches on language reclamation, revitalization, documentation and conservation; language mapping, policies, politics and language rights; and archives, digital tools and technology.


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How to Cite

Daurio, Maya, and Mark Turin. 2022. “Teaching Indigenous Language Revitalization over Zoom”. KULA: Knowledge Creation, Dissemination, and Preservation Studies 6 (1):1-11. https://doi.org/10.18357/kula.214.

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