Training for Literacy and Education Work

Certain life experiences along with prior education and various types of training are useful background for any person launching into training for potential international literacy fieldwork. Among them are:

  • teacher education
  • ESL and related domains
  • multilingual education
  • curriculum development
  • program and project management
  • community development
  • cross-cultural education
  • cross-cultural experiences
  • administration
  • educational research
  • social sciences
  • graphic artists/illustrators and multimedia

SIL offers specialized and accredited training for people who wish to work in literacy and education, either with SIL or through another organization.  For further information on training that is available see SIL Training.

SIL fieldworkers, as members of the organization, must meet certain qualifications and complete additional specific training. The minimum pre-field academic requirements include SIL courses in basic applied linguistics (or their equivalents) and literacy and multilingual education training.

SIL approved training for literacy and education is offered in various locations around the world:

Graduate Institute of Applied Linguistics (GIAL) in Dallas, TX, USA
University of North Dakota (SIL-UND) in Grand Forks, ND, USA (summer courses only)
Canada Institute of Linguistics (CanIL) in Vancouver, BC, Canada
Centre for Linguistics, Translation and Literacy, Redcliffe College in Gloucester, England
EQUIP near Melbourne, Australia
Payap University in Chiang Mai, Thailand
iDELTA in Nairobi, Kenya; and in Yaounde, Cameroon and Oauagadougou, Burkina Faso (in French)
CILTA in Lima, Peru (offered in Spanish)

All of these literacy training courses are open to potential literacy and education practitioners, but assume basic understanding of pertinent linguistic principles.

For further information including course schedules, click on the individual links provided above or see SIL Training.

Foundational Literacy and Education training

Core literacy and education courses, taught by SIL International Literacy personnel, integrate the domains of language, culture, and literacy, preparing participants to serve in literacy efforts with SIL or with other organizations. The course set is especially designed to train literacy personnel for fieldwork among peoples where there is little or no tradition of literacy, no literature, and no-one trained to organize a literacy program.

The course work provides hands-on experience in how to design materials for local language and multilingual literacy, how to plan a literacy program, and how to examine selective case studies of mother tongue literacy from a variety of countries worldwide.

At GIAL in Dallas and SIL-UND in North Dakota, this is known as the “Megacourse” and is a graduate-level cluster of three integrated classes or nine hours of graduate work:

  • Introduction, or Principles of Literacy,

  • Literacy Materials Development, and

  • Literacy Program Planning.

The Literacy Megacourse is offered in the spring at GIAL in Dallas and every second  summer at SIL in North Dakota. ( See the GIAL and SIL-UND websites.)

Literacy ‘Core’ Training Content

Topics include the following:

  • Profile of illiteracy in the world

  • Relationships between illiteracy, poverty, politics, and environment

  • Writing Systems

  • Orthographic and alphabet design and testing

  • Reading theory

  • Learning theories

  • Principles of adult education and learning

  • Instructional strategies for teaching reading

  • Instructional materials design

  • Literacy program design

  • Literacy program management

  • Literacy program funding

  • Trends in Literacy

  • Writer's workshops and local literature

  • Post-literacy materials

  • Introduction to Lingualinks Literacy Bookshelf.

  • Advocacy and Networking

(See also the SIL-UND course - Ling 530: Intro. to Writing Systems)