The project was inaugurated with a workshop that brought five people who are specialist in Hindi language pedagogy to the University of Minnesota from April 22-23, 2016. They included two consultants (Professors Vijay Gambhir, University of Pennsylvania, and Tej Bhatia, University of Syracuse) and three content developers for the language textbook for Intermediate Hindi (Dr. Lakhan Gusain, University of Syracuse; Professor Rajiv Ranjan, Michigan State University; and Dr. Sunil Kumar Bhatt, University of Toronto), who will work with Prof. Sungok Hong at the University of Minnesota on this project.
The workshop ran for two full days from April 22 to 23, 2016. It was held in Rm.317, Folwel Hall at U of M. Professors Laine and Guneratne and all of the content developers were present at the commencement of the workshop. Prof. Laine graciously delivered a welcome speech, and Professors Lainr and Guneratne stayed for approximately one hour. The morning and the early afternoon sessions ware spent focusing on the reinforcing the theoretical background of language teaching and material development. The sessions were led by Prof. Gambhir, and she presented on the following topics: framework for curriculum design, assessment, guidelines for creating learning materials, and Hindi Standards. The afternoon session was focused on applying theoretical knowledge into practice through brainstorming. The second day of the workshop started at 9:00 a.m.. Prof. Bhatia delivered a lecture on the theoretical and methodological challenges of new pedagogy. The following topics were covered in the morning: modeling the text based on out Intermediate Hindi through a data collection approach, learning strategies, and other issues such as permission related to copyrights when using online and other listening & reading materials.
All the participants also exchanged ideas on the following topics: grammar teaching, teaching and learning tools and conceptions of the proposed project and discourse- related activities.
Dr. Vijay Gambhir holds a Ph.D. in Linguistics from the University of Pennsylvania where she taught a variety of courses in language, linguistics, Hindi-Urdu pedagogy, and literature in the department of South Asia Studies for more than three decades. She retired in 2008 but she is still pursuing research projects in the field of second language teaching & acquisition. Her publications include ‘Teaching and Acquisition of South Asian Languages’ an edited volume by the University of Pennsylvania Press and many scholarly articles published in recognized national and international journals and books. She is the co-author and producer of a popular set of Hindi instructional materials "New Directions New People" available in text, video and web formats. Dr. Gambhir is a leader in the field of pedagogy and has trained many South Asian and other less commonly taught language teachers for proficiency-based instruction and assessment. The Hindi Proficiency Guidelines and the World-Readiness Standards for Learning Hindi have been developed under her leadership. She has served on many local and national committees, and she has provided consultation to several institutions including National Foreign Language Center, Defense Language Institute, National Council on the Teaching of Less Commonly Taught Languages, National Capital Language Resource Center, and Hindi-Urdu Flagship Program. Currently, she is providing consultation to some Hindi-Urdu STARTALK student and teacher-training programs.
Dr. Tej K. Bhatia is Professor of Linguistics and Director of South Asian languages at Syracuse University, Syracuse, New York. He has been Director of Linguistic Studies Program and Acting Director of Cognitive Sciences at his university. Currently, he is also a Faculty Fellow, Forensic Sciences and National Security Institute. He is Editor-in-Chief: Brill Research Perspectives on Multilingualism and Second Language Acquisition.He has published a number of books, articles and book chapters in the area of Bilingualism and Multiculturalism, language and social cognition, media (advertising), discourse, Sociolinguistics, the structure of World Englishes and South Asian languages (particularly, Hindi-Urdu and Punjabi).He has been the recipient of a number of grants from the National Science Foundation, US Department of Education, American Council of Learned Societies, The Smithsonian Institution, Fulbright-Hays Faculty Research Abroad, Linguistic Society of America, and American Council for Learned Society, among others. He has held visiting professorships at a number of prestigious universities in North America, Japan, and India. He has also been a consultant to several academic, government, and business organizations. He has been consultant to several academic, administrative, business organizations including international giants such as General Mills.
The second workshop was held on April 14-15, 2017 in Rm.113, Folwell Hall at the University of Minnesota. The workshop consisted of two components. The morning session was spent discussing an agenda sent in advance by e-mail two days before the meeting. As developers were getting close to completing the materials, we needed to make decisions about various things related to the format of the book, such as using specific Hindi and English fonts, the grammar points each developer would be producing, preparing an answer key and other details related to editing the online book. In the afternoon, the workshop was focused on micro-teaching. Each developer presented his/her new teaching practice/use of technology s/he had employed. This proved to be very effective.