Hosting a Language Circle
We’ve developed basic guidelines to make hosting your own language circle a great experience for everyone involved. We encourage you to adapt them to suit you and your group best. The Michif Language Revitalization Circle works with the Michif Language but our guide can be adapted to any Indigenous language.
Language Circles are free to attend and open to all participants regardless of heritage (Métis, non-Métis, Indigenous, and non-Indigenous), religion, gender, or sexual orientation.
Please ensure all Language Circles follow local health guidelines. If participants are feeling unwell (have a fever, cough, running nose, etc) please encourage them to stay home and rest.
Language Circle Roles
Everyone, regardless of their role — is a participant in each Language Circle.
Participants are not required to take on any additional roles and are welcomed to simply be there to learn. However, those interested in taking on extra responsibilities are encouraged to do so! All class materials will be provided; however, it is up to participants to provide their own binder, folder, duo tang or etc.
It is not necessary to have a separate person for each of the following positions. However, we recommend having at least 2 people share the duties below.
We ask that all participants follow the Language Circle Etiquette and Culture.
The Host is responsible for providing a place and welcoming environment for the Language Circle to take place. This can include opening their home to others, or facilitating the use of another suitable space. Please ensure you plan enough time to allow for setup and cleanup, before and after the Language Circle.
In Person Language Circle Location: A Home, Office or Gathering Space
The location will need enough space for the Language Circle to take place. This includes plenty of seating and a surface (or surfaces) for participants to play cards or bingo, enjoy snacks, and keep their notes or books.
If you are planning to use the Speak Michif website for your Language Circle you will need a way to view each page together as you work through the lessons. Here’s what we recommend using to make that happen:
A large display like a TV or projector with a screen.
A laptop you can connect to the TV or projector with a HDMI cable, or casting device.
Speakers that can connect to your laptop so everyone can hear the sound recordings. We recommend using speakers that directly connect to your laptop. They are more reliable than bluetooth speakers.
A stable internet connection
Virtual Language Circle Location: Online Video Conferencing Platform
For hosting virtual Language Circles a video conferencing platform is the best option. We typically use Zoom, however you may have success with platforms like Skype, Google Meet, or others. We strongly recommend doing a test run well ahead of time with your chosen platform so you know it will work for your Language Circle.
When selecting a virtual meeting space, it’s important to consider limitations on both participants and time. For example Zoom offers both free and paid accounts.
The free Basic Zoom account will host up to 100 participants for a maximum of 40 minutes.
The paid Pro Zoom account will host up to 100 participants for an unlimited amount of time.
In this example, unless you are able to keep your meeting under 40 minutes, or are only working with one other person, we recommend being prepared to utilize a Pro Zoom account to avoid any unnecessary interruptions to your Language Circle.
Best Practices for Virtual Language Circles:
Have the virtual meeting room open 10-15 minutes ahead of the scheduled start time so that you and participants can ensure video and audio are working properly.
Generally speaking, only one person should have their audio on at time. This is similar to how we would use a Talking Stick. If multiple people are unmuted, background noise and feedback will make it difficult for all the participants to hear what is being said. To practice saying words, work through the participants one person at a time.
You may politely ask participants to mute their microphone if they forget.
Refreshments and Snacks
Learning a new language requires effort and focus. We recommend having refreshments, like tea and coffee, on hand for participants as well as snacks! Feel free to either provide snacks of your own choosing, or ask participants to do a ‘mini potluck’ where everyone brings a snack to share with the group.
Please be mindful of any allergies within the group when selecting your snacks, or asking participants to bring their own.
There are many details that need to come together for a successful Language Circle. This is where a Logistics Coordinator comes in. They can be responsible for creating and maintaining the Language Circle bin. This bin contains the forms, supplies, and equipment that is distributed to participants at each event.
Keeping track of contact information, tracking participation and updating preferred lines of communication can also fall under the role of this individual. The Logistics Coordinator is often responsible for sending out invitations, reminders, and cancellations as well as obtaining permission to share contact details among participants interested in carpooling or networking with others in the group.
This is a key role at each Language Circle and works best in collaboration with the Host. The Language Circle Facilitator leads participants through the material and activities and maintains an appropriate pace. It is their responsibility to create a fun, enjoyable and low stress environment while leading by example by practicing proper etiquette and culture.
As the name suggests this role exists to help all the technical pieces of a Language Circle run as smoothly as possible. This includes setting up projectors or screens, laptops, speakers and making sure they all work together as intended! Being able to share the lessons on a big screen together is one of the key values of the way we learn the Michif language. The Technical Support is also responsible for safely disconnecting and packing up the same equipment.
Check out Unit 2, Lesson 8, Learning for words and phrases that can be used during Language Circle.
Language Circle Guide
This guide will walk you through all the necessary steps to start and run your own Language Circle. Although we work with the Michif language, the steps and procedures are adaptable to other Indigenous languages.
Please use this file below as your guide for hosting your own Language Circle.