Becoming…The Journey to Lose Myself in an Amazon Village.
The ACL* method developed by New Tribes Mission (now known as Ethnos360), has a tried-and-true Learning Cycle, a pattern for missionaries to follow in daily culture and language learning. Based on “Culture Events”, which are events, activities and situations occurring in the community, cyclic learning enables one to get the most out of these daily experiences, moving toward the goal of becoming part of the people, understanding their life from an insider’s perspective and communicating fluently in their language.
Instead of constantly referencing the “ACL Learning Cycle”, I like to call it by its less formal title – “The Four Ps”.
Plan – What culture event can I participate in? What do I hope to learn from this event? Who will be my teacher? Do I need to bring anything along?
Participate – The second P is my opportunity to experience an event or situation in the life of the community. This can be a quick activity such as giving a baby a bath or feeding the chickens. It can be an all-day expedition harvesting Brasil nuts. Or it can be a three-day trip to another village for a celebration, consisting of dancing, Bible teaching, and people from all over our reservation.
Process – All the data (new vocabulary, photos, audio recordings, cultural observations, questions I want to ask about the event) gathered during the Participate step needs to be organized, which is the purpose of this 3rd P.
Practice – This fourth P is when I “re-experience” the culture event, sometimes literally, and sometimes through reviewing the photos and other data. That way hopefully what my friends taught me sticks in my brain, as much as possible.
In my next four posts, I will write about each of The Four Ps individually, to give you a better idea of what each P looks like on a real day (no such thing as a typical day!) in village ministry. While you wait for that, here is a pop quiz for you. No pressure at all; this is simply for fun and to get you thinking about how the Ps might look in daily life. Please participate by commenting with your answers, based on the above brief descriptions and other posts you have read here in the past. If you don’t know, just guess!
A Pop Quiz on the Four Ps:
- Which P is the most fun and exciting?
- Which P is supposed to take up most of a person’s ACL time?
- Which P can involve little toy people?
- Which P do I sometimes do first thing in the morning, while still half-asleep?
- Which P did my sister do right along with me many times?
- Which P is the hardest to implement?
- Which P do I get behind on when we don’t have electricity for awhile?
- Which P would be easier for someone doing ACL in the United States?
(The answers are based on my experience and this context – other ACL students might answer the questions differently, except for number 2, which is from the ACL manual). I will post a comment with the answers in 8 or 9 days.
*The actual English acronym is CLA – Culture and Language Acquisition. However, since the Portuguese acronym is ACL, and I was taught the method at the Brasilian training center, CLA sounds incorrect to my brain. Also, the phrase Acquisition of Culture and Language is not ungrammatical English, so I will continue referring to it as ACL. Just figured it would be good to set the record straight.