Gabriel Ayoola, a lecturer in the Department of Afroamerican and African Studies and African Studies Center (ASC) faculty associate, was elected vice president of the African Languages Teachers Association (ALTA). He shares that his motivation and ambitious goal for the organization is to enhance collaboration among African language educators. He is determined to cultivate an inclusive atmosphere where people from diverse backgrounds can empower educators, promote research and innovation, celebrate African heritage, and encourage global collaboration through policies and recognition.
One of the challenges Ayoola hopes to address in this position is the need for continuous professional development. This includes staying informed about the latest teaching methodologies for African languages and integrating technology effectively in language education. ALTA aims to address these challenges by providing valuable resources and fostering a community for sharing experiences and insights related to technology in language education.
The importance of networking and relationship-building was highlighted in the context of ALTA's involvement with the University of Michigan. Ayoola believes that collaboration between ALTA and the University of Michigan will offer opportunities for professional development, workshops, conferences, and seminars that enhance the teaching skills of language educators. Furthermore, this collaboration allows for the sharing of resources, curriculum ideas, and best practices, ultimately enriching the language education program at the University of Michigan. It can also lead to research projects that address specific challenges in African language programs, resulting in publications, presentations, and contributions to the field. This partnership between ALTA and the University of Michigan aims to advocate for the importance of African languages at regional and national levels, potentially influencing policy decisions related to language education.
Additionally, Ayoola discussed the utilization of technology and social media to connect with a broader community. In addition, he plans to establish an easily navigable website with comprehensive information about the association's activities, resources, and upcoming events. He also intends to actively engage with a diverse audience through social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Instagram. By consistently posting updates, announcements, and pertinent content while strategically using hashtags and keywords related to African languages, ALTA aims to enhance its discoverability across social media platforms, thereby expanding its reach and impact.
Ayoola’s vision and goals for ALTA reflect a commitment to the advancement of African language education, collaboration, and innovation, with a strong emphasis on inclusivity and advocacy. The organization's engagement with the University of Michigan and its strategic use of technology and social media are key elements of its plan to connect with a broader community and further its mission.