Certain life experiences along with prior education and various types of training are useful background for any person launching into training for potential international literacy fieldwork. Among them are:
- teacher education
- ESL and related domains
- multilingual education
- curriculum development
- program and project management
- community development
- cross-cultural education
- cross-cultural experiences
- educational research
SIL fieldworkers, as members of the organization, must meet certain qualifications and complete additional specific training. The minimum pre-field academic requirements include SIL courses in basic applied linguistics (or their equivalents) and literacy and multilingual education training.
Linguistics, literacy and multilingual education are among the courses offered at the Graduate Institute of Applied Linguistics (GIAL) in Dallas, Texas, as well as at SIL schools in Canada (CANIL), Europe (ETP), Australia (subject descriptions for EQUIP Training - formerly SPSIL) and Asia (ASIL). Spanish speakers may take literacy courses in Spanish in Peru at (CILTA). Summer courses are offered at North Dakota (NDSIL). North Dakota offers a scholarship for advanced study of literacy. All SIL literacy training courses are open to non-member potential literacy and education practitioners but assume a basic understanding of pertinent linguistic principles.
For further information including course schedules, click on the individual links provided above or see SIL Training.
The Literacy Megacourse, taught by SIL International Literacy personnel, integrates the domains of language, culture, and literacy, preparing participants to serve in literacy efforts with SIL or with other organizations. The course package is especially designed to train literacy personnel for fieldwork among peoples where there is little or no tradition of literacy, no literature, and no one trained to organize a literacy program.
The Megacourse is a graduate-level cluster of three integrated classes or nine hours of graduate work:
- Introduction, or Principles of Literacy,
- Literacy Materials Development, and
- Literacy Program Planning.
The course work provides hands-on experience in how to design materials for local language and multilingual literacy, how to plan a literacy program, and how to examine selective case studies of mother tongue literacy from a variety of counties worldwide.
The Literacy Megacourse is offered in the spring at GIAL in Dallas and in the summer at NDSIL in North Dakota. (For details about pre-requisites, course content and dates see the GIAL and NDSIL websites.)
Topics in the Megacourse include the following:
- Profile of illiteracy in the world
- Relationships between illiteracy, poverty, politics, and environment
- Writing Systems
- Orthographic and alphabet design and testing
(See Alphabet Museum)
- Reading theory
- Principles of adult education
- Instructional strategies for teaching reading
- Instructional materials design
- Literacy program design
- Literacy program management
- Literacy program funding
- Trends in Literacy
- Writer's workshops and local literature
- Post-literacy materials
- Introduction to Lingualinks Literacy Bookshelf.
(See also the NDSIL course - Ling 530: Intro. to Writing Systems)