Programs for STARTALK Teachers of Critical Languages | Concordia Language Villages

Programs for STARTALK Teachers of Critical Languages

Engaging All Learners Through Brain-based Strategies: A STARTALK Program for Teachers of Critical Languages


Hosted by Concordia Language Villages, the program is designed for a cohort of 18 K–16 teachers of all five STARTALK languages: Arabic, Chinese, Korean, Persian and Russian. Participation is FREE due to funding from STARTALK.


  • Stage One: March 4–May 10, 2023 (virtually)
    • Online Book Study and Discussions
  • Stage Two: July 27–August 5, 2023 (in-residence, Bemidji, MN)
    • Observation, Participation and Reflection on teaching and learning at Concordia Language Villages
  • Stage Three: September 1–October 25, 2023 (virtually)
    • Application of Learning

Location: Hampton Inn, Bemidji, Minnesota, Concordia Language Villages, and Virtually

"The combination of people gathered was extremely rich. The mix of cultures and languages was just amazing!"- Previous CLV STARTALK participant
"The course exceeded my expectations. I got so many ideas as an instructor/teacher."
"Everything about the content of the course was meaningful and applicable in the classroom."
"I learned so much by observing what happens at CLV and talking with the teachers there."


Teachers from all 50 states are eligible. The overarching goal is to promote active, engaged learning for teachers and students of critical languages. A brain-based model of instructional design is the foundation of the program, incorporating the six STARTALK principles throughout. Participants choose an action research topic related to brain-based strategies in the language classroom. The eight-month program takes place from March to October 2023. It includes a 10-day in-person summer camp in July/August in Bemidji, Minn., affording multiple visits to the Language Villages where teachers can observe and engage in immersive teaching and learning for youth aged 7 to 18. Online pre- and post-camp sessions incorporate a book study of brain-based strategies with discussion, and then application of learning to the classroom setting with opportunity for feedback, reflection and collaboration with colleagues. Course hours total 129, including synchronous and asynchronous online work and a 60-hour in-person summer camp.

  • With over 60 years of expertise in language and cultural immersion, Concordia Language Villages is well positioned to deliver an innovative teacher program, grounded in action research, in five STARTALK languages: Arabic (begun in 2006 at Concordia Language Villages), Chinese (1984), Korean (1999), Russian (1966) and most recently Persian (2019 at the Concordia Language Training Center). Concordia Language Villages began professional development seminars for world language teachers in 1988 and launched an M.Ed. in world language instruction with Concordia College in 2006. It hosted STARTALK teacher programs from 2007 to 2018. In the Concordia Language Villages programs, teachers can observe and engage in the immersive teaching and learning at the summer Language Villages for youth aged 7 to 18. This unique opportunity to observe and engage in Concordia Language Villages-based activities, along with individual and collaborative reflection during the program, allows teachers to creatively adapt brain-based immersion strategies to their teaching environment. In doing so, they become more effective critical-language instructors.


For Stage One and Stage Three participants will be connecting remotely via Zoom in order to share work being done and facilitate conversation around the learning objectives. For the Stage Two, in-residence, portion of The Engaging All Learners Through Brain-based Strategies: A STARTALK Program for Teachers of Critical Languages participants will reside in a hotel in Bemidji, Minn. where they will have several seminar sessions and day excursions into the Concordia Language Villages residential youth programming located 15 minutes north of Bemidji. Most special dietary restrictions can be accommodated to meet the needs of individual participants.



March 4 to May 10, 2023: Online Pre-camp Outreach (38 hours of instruction)

  • Two-hour orientation is held in early March for participants.
  • Eight weekly sessions are held from early March to May, each session accounting for 90 minutes of synchronous activity (discussion, collaboration and presentation) and three hours of asynchronous activity (reading, reflection, dialogue journaling and development of action research guiding question).

July 27 to August 5, 2023: In-person, Residential Camp in Bemidji, Minn. (60 hours of instruction) (Note: Program takes place at the hotel in Bemidji, with dedicated meeting/dining space for the program. Regular trips are scheduled to the Language Villages that are in session during this time.)

  • Participants arrive in Bemidji, Minn. for a camp program on July 26 and depart on August 6. Ten full days of instruction take place from July 27 through August 5. Travel to the program is reimbursed upon presentation of receipts.
  • Daily instruction occurs from 9 a.m. – 4 p.m. each day, including a one-hour break for lunch. Two sample schedules follow.

Schedule A: 9 a.m. large-group activity (lecture, demonstration and/or simulation); 10:30 a.m. small-group work (same or mixed language) discussion/collaboration; 11:30 a.m. individual reflection/dialogue journaling/planning, collaboration with instructors; 12:30 p.m. lunch break; 1:30 p.m. small-group work; 2:30–4 p.m. demonstrations or presentations, with instructor and cohort feedback.

Schedule B: 9 a.m. Village visit preparation (what to focus on, what to expect); 10 a.m. transit to Village; 11 a.m. observe, gather data for action research, participate and interact in Village activities; 12:30 p.m. culturally authentic lunch at Village; 2 p.m. Q&A with Village dean and teaching staff; 3 p.m. transit back to hotel; 4 p.m. debrief, reflect and apply learning to inquiry/action research.

  • On the final day of the camp, instructional staff facilitate a large-group discussion with the participants on their overarching observations and learnings.
  • Program staff continue until August 7 for camp session debriefing and cleanup.

September 1 to October 25: Online Post-camp Outreach (31 hours of instruction) 

  • Six weekly sessions are held from early September to late October, each session accounting for 90 minutes of synchronous activity (discussion, collaboration and presentation) and three hours of asynchronous activity (reading, reflection, dialogue journaling and action research in the classroom).
  • Final four-hour session takes place at the end of October, including individual preparation for summative presentation, participant final presentations with discussion, program evaluation dialogue with instructors and the setup of the ongoing Teacher Learning Community.