Professional Development for Mayan Ixil Mother-tongue Educators

Country: Guatemala, Central America

Language group: Ixil, Cotzal
Population: 18,000

Language group: Ixil, Nebaj
Population: over 35,000

Ixil: (Comentarios)

En Español:
Comentarios de los maestros acerca del taller “Enseñanza en la Lengua Materna”

English translation:
Participant comments on the training for “Instruction in the Mother-tongue”.

Professional Training Event

HELPS International - an NGO working in Guatemala and indigenous Ixil educators requested some specialized training from SIL International Literacy and Education Consultants. In response to their request, a week-long professional development event was conducted for them which focused on mother-tongue education and equipping teachers. Participants were Ixil speakers from two dialects. Spanish was primarily used as the common language of instruction for this in-service training but HELPS and SIL personnel experienced in Ixil literacy and field work joined in the event to assist both the participants and the instructors. The structure and content was designed to help these Ixil professionals improve their own teaching practice and advance in their capacity to help train other Ixil speakers as mother-tongue teachers.

Training Topics

Participants received a minimum of 20 hours of instruction and 10 hours of practicum in the following topics:

  • Principles of translating - for development of lesson content in the mother-tongue
  • Importance of instruction in the mother-tongue
  • Principles specific to instruction in the mother-tongue
  • Conducting studies relevant to mother-tongue instruction
  • Research and studies supportive to bilingual education
  • Case studies and models in bilingual education
  • Evaluation of reading/literacy in the mother-tongue
  • Reading instruction in the mother-tongue
  • Evaluation of Mathematics in the mother-tongue
  • Mathematics instruction in the mother-tongue
  • Evaluation of Science in the mother-tongue
  • Science instruction in the mother-tongue
  • Evaluation of Social Studies in the mother-tongue
  • Social Studies instruction in the mother-tongue
  • Evaluation of student abilities in the second language
  • Teaching a second language (L 2)
    • listening and pronunciation
    • speaking and vocabulary
    • grammar
    • literacy/reading
    • handwriting and creative writing
  • Complete lesson plans

The content of this professional development will be replicated and contextualized for other training events for indigenous teachers.

CULTURAL NOTE: Designs shown in this "Snaphot" are from Cotzal Ixil blouses (known as "huipil"). The blouses are hand-woven on a backstrap loom. Each blouse takes about 3 months to weave working approximately 5 hours a day. The unique design and type of weaving identifies the area where the Ixil weaver lives.

Kam uve' nivitz'a ti' u chusb'ale'
(Some of my thoughts on the training event)

B'a'n chite' u chusb'ale' uve' tu ka'va'l yolb'al. Ech kole' u chusb'ale' tiyolb'al unq'a talintxa'e' tan a'e' ni a'q'on ku' ixeteb'al vitxumb'ale', as a'e' la lochon ve't u talintxa'e' ti' taq'onvu ve'te'.

Uma't yolb'al uva' la itx'ol ve'te' as a'e' la eq'on katikat kuxhtu'. U chusb'ale' tu ka'va'l yolb'al a' ni tokkat ile' uva' la itx'ol u talintxae' iyolb'ale', ti' tab'ita', itz'ib'ale', as isik'lele' ka'va'l unq'a yolb'ale'.

Ech kole' uma'l u chusb'ale' kat aq'chu sve ti' uva' kam kuchusun tu kava'l yolb'al. As b'an tan niloch o' ti' kuchusat unq'a talintxae'.

B'a'n chit unq'a txumb'ale' kat aq'chu sve as a'e' tuk untxakonsa xo'l unq'a talintxa'e'. As ti' ilochat ka't unq'a chusule' tu u chusb'ale' uve' ni q'aqonvu kat, tan asoj la kutxakonsa as at chit ivatze' la q'ile'.

Carlos Pérez
Director del Colegio Luz y Vida 
Aldea Salquil Grande

English translation of: “Thoughts on the Training Event”

We learned good principles in regard to teaching two languages. These principles will help us teach the children and will also help them in their learning and work.

Learning in one language is not sufficient. When the children learn to speak, understand, write, and read two languages, they'll have many more opportunities in life.

The way they (the training event instructors) taught us to teach in two languages is the way we're going to use with the children.

The methods and techniques I learned will work well with the children, and I intend to use them. This will also help other teachers in their classes. If we do apply these methods, we will see results in the children's learning.


Horario: Taller “Enseñanza en la Lengua Materna” 
Comentarios de los maestros acerca del taller de educación bilingüe:

La qaq' ta'ntiixh te unq'a qitz'in qatzike' tu ILV uva' kat b'anon iya'l ti' qeq'ol tu u atinb'ale' uva' kat b'ex kuchuskat qib' ti' uva' kam kuchusun tu u kuyolb'ale'. As qootzale', asoj la kub'anb'e moj la qoksa titxa'k ti' uva' la chusun o' tu ka'va'l yolb'al, as ch'iumal la ib'ane'as la qil uma'l u b'a'n. As cheel at ve't uma'l qijatz ti' uva' jank'al uva' kat kuchusa la kub'anb'e ti' ichuspu ka'taj chusul, as ti' ipaxsal itzib'lal xo'l unq'a chusule' uva' aya'l chit ik'u'l ti' ichusun tu ka'va'l yolb'al (Kaxhlan yol as tuk' kuyolb'al Ixil).

Te'k tuk' u pap Pi'l (Carlos and Felipe) Colegio Luz y Vida tu Nimla Salch'il, Naab'a', K'iche', Ixi'm Tx'ava'

Agradecemos mucho al ILV para el esfuerzo que los profesores hicieron para darnos la oportunidad de estar en el taller de la enseñanza en la lengua materna. Estamos muy convencidos de que aplicando una educación bilingüe, haremos posible un cambio. Ahora tenemos la responsabilidad de aplicar lo que hemos aprendido y divulgarlo a los otros maestros que están dispuestos a hacer una educación bilingüe.

Representantes Ixil del Colegio Luz y Vida en Salquil Grande, Quiche, Guatemala

Agradecimos a Helps International y a los profesores por habernos dado esta oportunidad importante para aprender más acerca de la educación bilingüe. Entendemos que la educación bilingüe mejora la calidad de la educación y en esta capacitación hemos aprendido unos métodos y pasos importantes para seguir en nuestras clases. Eso es importante porque nosotros los maestros tenemos la responsabilidad de enseñar la lengua materna a nuestro pueblo.

Maestras Ixil de la escuela bilingüe experimental William Botnam en Santa Avelina, Quiché, Guatemala

English Translation: 
Comments by Ixil teachers attending the bilingual education training event

The professors from SIL were very helpful and we are very thankful for the work that they did so that we would have this opportunity to learn how to teach using our maternal language, Ixil. Because 95% of our people are native Ixil speakers, we are convinced that we can use bilingual education to make a difference at our school using a one-dimensional approach. We now have the responsibility to apply what we have learned and share our new knowledge with our fellow teachers.

Ixil representatives from the Light & Life School Salquil Grande, Quiche, Guatemala

We are very thankful to Helps International and the professors from SIL who made this workshop on bilingual education possible. We know that a bilingual program raises the quality of the education we give our students and in this workshop we have learned some very important methods that will help us accomplish our goals. This is important to us because as teachers we have the responsibility to teach our people how to read and write in their maternal language.

Ixil teachers from William Botman experimental school Santa Avelina, Quiche, Guatemala