Boston Language Hunting Workshop

Boston, MA — April 22-24, 2011

Attendees: IT workers and their family.

A very interesting workshop. I wish I had encountered this when I was a little girl. Better late than never. The technique is very simple to use and it was fascinating to see how much Hindi was covered using simple techniques. My quest is to see how I can use these techniques at my work to learn new technology. Willem is a wonderful teacher. I had given up the hope that my daughter will ever be multilingual. [Fluency Hunting] techniques make me hopeful – that I can teach my daughter my native language [Tamil] in a playful, un-intimidating way. Thank you Willem for putting so much thought and effort to develop this simple, easy to use technique. REKHA SHYAMKUMAR

I love learning and my mom taught me hindi. SHREYA (5 YRS OLD)

- Use of techniques as the solution is much better than the usual “try harder” response.
- Language fluency = being the language
- Hunter can hunt the core structure of a language and has the tools to fill in the details.
- Techniques are for accelerated learning, not just languages! ALEX BARANOSKY

I’m usually a big “note-taker” but this workshop helped me see that the [Fluency Hunting Model] methods are only slowed down by doing that – it really is not necessary. For Agile practitioners, I believe time will show that [Language Hunting’s] dynamics are as “game-changing” for us as Architecture’s “patterns” concept was over 10 years ago. NANCY VAN SHOOENDERWORT

I am afraid of NOT having you around! The workshop  unlocked my fear of learning language. I now (finally) have techniques and a game I can use to pull language to hunt fluency! Thank you so much Willem for sharing this gift. DOUG ROSS, AGILE COACH

[Language Hunting’s] techniques have the potential to greatly improve workplace communication. I was surprised by how quickly and easily and painlessly I learned the techniques. My hope is that I will be able to share them with agile teams. MICHAEL DE LA MAZA, AGILE COACH

Save Your Language Conference

Vancouver B.C. — June 5–6, 2010

Attendees: Language educators and activists

I honestly got so much out of the conference that I have no feedback about what to change or do differently. Your style is so open, accepting and accommodating, it really allowed me to let go of any expectations. And, of course, that allowed me to get totally full. It also was a joy to combine with a trip to Vancouver. Much gratitude.  Marty Nelson

...You were really totally great non-teacher game facilitators. Thank you so much for not-teaching what you know. I feel my mind is open, my heart inspired and my curiosity and interest and will to continue all peaked piqued. (← How fascinating!) Much appreciation, Susanna

[translated] I thank you folks / I will play / and I’ll play again / and then all my people will know / and we will play / and then everyone will know Unsigned

I now have faith! I believe with the techniques I can save my languages. I also believe these techniques will help me learn other indigenous languages. My next step is to figure out how WAYK will apply to my language and Native sign language. Over all though I am very full and can’t wait to play these games with my people. :) Thank you! Unsigned

  • Very positive atmosphere by everyone both facilitators and conference participants.
  • Levels were not on the same page with everyone but that facilitators and participants allowed that in a positive manner.
  • Participants being well enough ahead taught those that were behind a bit. Teaching and thinking through the steps was phenomenal in passing on what they learned.
  • A person in the right frame of mind can learn very quickly.
  • Some language teachers are trying to find new ways of teaching that will help young mothers, and adults, and youth learn language orally. It is different when you teach fluent adult speakers who just need to learn literacy, that is reading and writing.
  • Even fluent speakers have a range of fluency because of traumas we have had with European contact ’til present like smallpox, war, flu epidemic, and residential school, and a generation after residential school.
  • Find another word for “lunatic” because some people have mental illness like “paranoid schizophrenic” or other types of illnesses.


Language Hunt Gathering

JUNE 7–10, 2010

I truly appreciate everything you are doing! Maybe have an extensive conference, like a week long, so the individual fully gets the experience. Take the individual language hunting, take them really out for tea with grandma etc. That way, in a week, the individual will be fully confident in their understanding and can go back to their city and be the WAYK pioneer. Right now I don’t feel 100% confident in my ability, obviously it will come with lots of practice in time but since time is the issue with these dying languages, extensive training and in the field training with you as the teacher would be awesome. It’s a buddy system! Thanks again for the dedicated, beautiful work are you doing! Sarah Bartman

Thank both of you so much for sharing with all of us. I think what you are doing will help so many people. Before this I saw no chance to save our language, but now I see a great chance to do it! Qagaasakung! Becky B

2010 Unangam Tunuu Language Camp

NW Indian College, Lummi Reservation
Bellingham, WA — August 24–30, 2010

Attendees: Unangax (Aleut) and other residents of Lummi

I loved that everyone was cheery every Day. Hope I See you next summer P.S. I will miss you alot Ally [age 9]

I want to say thank you for letting me come. I had a lot of fun on my only day. Thank you, Zouie [age 9]

Thanks for this! It’s a great way to teach Languages! Arigato! Watashiwa pan o tabemasu (I eat bread!) Peyton [age 12]

Portland Language Hunt Workshop

Portland, OR — February 20–21, 2010

You guys are really on to something. Really and truly. As I suggested to both of you at different points and at different levels the combination of skills and techniques that you’ve put together have very real correlates to basic aspects of human nature such as mirror neurons (as the key for internalizing the state of others), pro-social engagement (as the key nervous system element to support curiosity), mimicry (as the central them of primate learning), titration (as an ideal for integration of new information, ie. bite sized pieces), limited stress response (through orientation and limits, setup and how fascinating) and they keep going. Those all have immediate influence on the nervous system, particularly at the involuntary level and support your desire, in a huge way, to get you to “not have to think.” I think just about everything you’re doing could be deeply supported by evolutionary psychology and social neuroscience and certainly by my field traumatology. I think you’ve created something quite remarkable and the mutual aid ethics you’ve brought to that creation are entirely appreciated. I really hope to see where this goes, for you all, me and for others. Anthony Wheeler

Congratulations on an excellent workshop! Really excited to see this happen with many, many languages and can’t wait to increase fluency in sign language to use as a bridge. Yay for [Language Hunting], as it brings inspiration for not only learning the many diverse languages living and breathing in the world, it also gives a spark to learning any skill that may cross one’s path. Unsigned

Such a smooth, graceful workshop. Fluent! Always adjusting, always communicating, very nice. Excellent language choices, clear speech patterns. So impressed with your abilities to “set-up”, so incredibly thought out. I feel so blessed to have been included in this experience. Unsigned

This is awesome. Karissa and I are going to take this back to Seattle and start running games. We also hope to use this at our school when it starts. We are so excited about this game’s promise. I can’t wait to see what we’ve done with it in a year. Thank you. Jeremy Lightsmith, Seattle, WA, Agile Software Development Coach

The spirit of the techniques have stayed with us in amazing ways. Thus far, we've experienced more greenlighting from the students than ever before and have, in many ways, traveled to greater depth and breadth than any previous classes. I think sharing [fluency hunting] helped them open to the spirit of our aims.
     I feel comfortable in speaking for Gaye in saying that we feel very grateful for how our year has transpired. I want to again express my gratitude to you both as you so joyfully share your play and work. Kent Siebold, Cleveland High School

An intense workshop! I definitely feel “full,” but it’s a good feeling. Seeing how a foundation in the basics can cause fluency AND proficiency to explode exponentially was exciting beyond belief. I can finally start to see how I could actually use this to teach and learn languages/skills. Unsigned

Just enough structure – lots of fun – great “set-up” of food, location, staff – real world practice in context and in manufactured settings – instructors modeled practice well, so it was easy to copy. Unsigned

Thank you! I really appreciated the good structure of the workshop — good breaks, yummy lunch, balance of playing inside and outside, walking and sitting, leading a game and watching/ following along, etc. Unsigned

“Save Your Language” Language Hunt Sechelt

Sechelt, B.C. — September 12–14, 2010

Attendees: Members of the Sechelt Nation/shíshálh n

This workshop is very interesting and it’s exciting. To learn hand language with our own words. Our singing group has a lot to learn about hand language especially when we’re learning a new tune. This program would benefit our Youth in our Nation and also our Elders. Thank you for coming to our Nation. Audrey (Tetalus’) Santiago

I had an amazing experience for the short period of time I was here. I learned a lot and am happy I made it here. I think our language will start coming along a lot faster now. Meagan Pinchbeck

Your enthusiasm, positive attitude and energy added to a fantastic approach. I found it fun to acquire new words while learning new movements at the same time. Making that connection and “using it” repetitively was significant. Thank you! Andrew

Very good tool to keep our language strong and alive. As a teacher I really enjoy the “hands-on” experience and look forward to teaching sign in the school. Rita

The simple idea that you don’t have to think, just copycat is emoot [good]! The more you copycat the easier it is to pick up. The development and structure of the web [lotus] seating is totally awesome, it provides you with so many angles that help you along, it is great for your confidence while learning. Lenora Joe

Very good way to teach language thru sign and repetition. Also a fantastic way to use sentences in our language. I would like to learn more sign language. Lots of fun! Valerie Bourne (Joe)

Latin Language Hunt

Wyoming Catholic College — Lander, WY

Attendees: Latin Faculty and Students

“I saved Latin what’d you ever do?” Loved the weekend; thank you both very much! I learned a lot, I can’t wait to use it. p.s. Come back in 4 years if you are unable to come sooner... :) Ellissa Hubbard, Freshman, WCC

I was anticipating a very quiet weekend, but I wouldn’t trade what I learned here for anything. I’m hoping to become a Latin professor and these techniques will be invaluable. I will keep learning languages and keep in touch. Thanks! Brien Hartung, Senior, WCC