Enrollment in Kiswahili language programs in the United States has seen enormous increases over the last 20 years, but this surge in interest has yet to produce curricular materials that meet the needs of these new 21st-century learners. Indeed, the most widely used introductory Kiswahili textbooks stray far from the world readiness standards that serve as the roadmap for learners to develop communicative and cultural competence. Existing textbooks either focus primarily on grammar, or present material that is poorly sequenced and at times inappropriate for the level of the learner. Instructors are required, therefore, to adopt a textbook that requires both extensive course planning and the creation of supplemental activities to meet course objectives.
Hujambo! (Hello!) will provide a complete web-based curriculum for introductory Kiswahili organized into twelve units that chronicle the adventures of two American students studying abroad in Tanzania and Kenya for an academic year. Learners follow them from their arrival at the airport until they depart home, providing an opportunity to learn about their host families, academic pursuits, and free time with friends. Conversations with members of the local community, as well as emails and texts they send to one another, will provide meaningful insight about their encounters with a new culture and how it shapes their view of the larger world.
Hujambo! will be built following backward design, with units organized thematically to provide a broad overview of Kiswahili language and culture. Each unit will introduce the desired learning outcomes, followed by a list of summative performance assessment tasks. Units will begin with dialogues or monologues that model the language, cultural content, and targeted grammatical constructions, before moving on to carefully scaffolded comprehension and information gap activities that encourage interaction with classmates. Contextualized grammar explanations will be accompanied by computer-graded activities that allow students to work on these new concepts outside of class time. Workbooks providing in-class activities and homework assignments will be provided in both downloadable pdf and print-on-demand formats. Modules in this project will be released in a serialized fashion with work completed during the summer of 2022.