Where Are Your Keys?

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“Where Are Your Keys?” is the revolutionary language-learning game created by Evan Gardner. Based in Oregon, United States, Evan has been building “Where Are Your Keys?” since 1993. It has been shaped, grown, and influenced by the participants and communities who use it. The method itself believes that communities can be given the tools to save their languages themselves. Evan and Willem have used and shared this method with various communities, finding huge success in their home state of Oregon with the Chinook Nation, and the Grand Ronde Tribes. They have recently begun efforts with Dustin Rivers and the Squamish Nation community.

The “Where Are Your Keys?” method is a learning and teaching approach that combines auditory, visual, and kinesthetic learning styles. Language learning must be heard and spoken; seen and visible; and involve movement and touch. The fourth learning style of reading/writing has been used too heavily in past language revitalization efforts with disappointing results (having produced few teachers or fluent speakers of endangered languages).

“Where Are Your Keys?” uses American Sign Language as a useful learning tool. Each word used in a target language has sign-language placed on top of it, helping the learner remember words, grammar, and syntax. The brain remembers body movements, and this becomes an excellent tool to help remember words in a target-language. There is no chalk-board where a teacher reads out-loud to students random phrases, words, and sentences. Language-learners use hand-signs to remember spoken words. The utility of hand signing becomes very clear, very fast, as the brain easily remembers a hand sign, then the word linked to that hand sign suddenly pops into memory.

This method uses hundreds of teaching/learning ‘techniques’ that help language-learning become fast, efficient, and easy. Technique “Travels with Peter” teaches a roadmap to fluency. It gives you a clear understanding of where we may be with our own language learning and where the ultimate personal and community language goal could be. Technique “Limit” teaches you to limit the amount of learning we undertake before we move onto something new. This way, we don’t take on too much to remember or understand, but focus on small, bite sized pieces, in order to become extremely proficient and fluent at that level, before moving forward. Otherwise, technique “Full” comes in, where a language-learner may become “full” from the amount of learning. This person can then clearly communicate they are “full”, remove themselves from the high-paced hot-seats of the learning circle, and relax, take a breath, and be on the outer fringes, but still learn.

There are literally hundreds of techniques that make up “Where Are Your Keys?”, all are instrumental in creating a high-speed, community-driven language learning and teaching environment.

The fun, excitement, and usefulness of this game can be expanded even further. Spend a full-day learning “Where Are Your Keys?” to find useful ways to implement the techniques immediately in your life and community. Later you’ll find even more techniques, and ideas that become useful. Join a growing community of language-learners. “Where Are Your Keys?” is FREE and open to any community to use as they see fit.

To learn more, visit their website at http://www.whereareyourkeys.org

or contact the WAYK team, Willem Larsen and Evan Gardner, at whereareyourkeys at gmail.com
(Remove “AT” with the “@” symbol)

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