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Dec. 23, 2021

Raising the bar for African language instruction

Although specific to African languages, Magdalyne “Maggie” Oguti Akiding’s approach to second language instruction could be adapted to teach most any foreign language and is raising the bar for African language instruction in the United States with a fast-paced, communicatively-oriented method that draws from culture, current events and history.

A native of Kenya, Akiding graduated this month with a Ph.D. in Second Language Studies from Michigan State University’s Department of Linguistics, Languages and Cultures. She first came to MSU in 2017 with experience as a Swahili teaching assistant, advanced degrees and professional development training. She now is at the forefront of research into African language acquisition and recently was appointed as a Swahili instructor at Howard University in Washington, D.C.

Akiding stands out for her love of teaching Swahili to students in the United States, a skill in high demand as the need for more Americans to learn African languages pushes the need for more teachers.

“Maggie is a true language and cultural ambassador,” said Professor Paula Winke, who serves as Akiding’s doctoral adviser and directs MSU’s Second Language Studies Ph.D. Program. “She views each student in her Swahili language classes as an important globally minded person who will support world peace through language and cultural understanding.”

To read the full story, visit the College of Arts and Letters website.

By: Ann Kammerer

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