Becoming Equipped to Communicate
A practical guide for learning a new language and culture
The BEC program progressively leads learners into broader and deeper local relationships as the learners advance through the learning levels with the associated community-based activities. Even as learners grow in local relationships, BEC helps them move through key areas of culture toward a thematic worldview understanding of the local culture and language community. This approach provides learners with a robust foundation for effective communication and language development work.
By the end of the BEC, learners who have followed the program will have cultivated many significant relationships in their new community as a part of identifying key themes of life in the worldview around them. In this sense, BEC acts as much more than a language learning program. Through this resource, cross-cultural workers grow to become a normal part of the life of the culture and language community: learning to understand, speak, read, write, and naturally interact in order to take an active and relevant role in people’s lives for focused relationship-building and language development purposes.
The BEC program:
• Explains the necessary foundations for deep communication
• Provides a comprehensive scope, sequence, and time schedule for the entire trajectory of culture and language learning
• Leads cross-cultural workers through successive levels of community-based activities that help them build deep relationships with others, such that learners grow to understand the community worldview as embodied in the local culture and language
• Includes detailed, step-by-step learning plans for each level
• Gives practical advice so that learners at any level can use the curriculum to continue to progress
• Includes self-evaluation checklists for each level in order to monitor learner progress
• Guides the learning process such that workers reach worldview-level communicative ability by the end of the curriculum (equivalent to Advanced High on the ACTFL scale of speaking proficiency)
I heartily recommend the BEC curriculum as a tool to learn culture and language. Using the culture itself as a textbook to direct the learner has proven to be exceptionally effective in the culture and language acquisition process for our team in Asia. It results in learners who are able to function in a cross-cultural context as insiders, people who communicate clearly because they have been able to identify with the culture of those among whom they live. If you’re looking for a proven, evidence-based solution to the problem of language and culture study, this is it.
Jesse G B.Sc., Culture and Language Acquisition Consultant in North Asia
BEC was a God-send for not only my wife Tammy and me, but also for our whole team working in a remote village. Even though most of the men of the village are low-level bilingual or monolingual mother-tongue speakers and the women are monolingual, we were able to make some minor adjustments to BEC that allowed us to use it with good results. Those good results go beyond just language proficiency to include significant relationships and cultural awareness. Since the BEC program was designed with relationship in mind, it’s not surprising that this is the case. Low-level bilingual and monolingual contexts are a challenge for any culture/language acquisition program; but after having successfully used the BEC program in precisely that kind of context I can say wholeheartedly that I know of no better program than BEC and highly recommend it!
Jamie Miller, Learning a tribal language in South America
I have a doctoral degree in education so my natural tendency would be to turn to classes and textbooks to learn. However I put the BEC method to the test and learned an Asian language without either one. Also, I have difficulty hearing tones but I learned to speak a tonal language by following BEC. I was a skeptic; now I’m a believer in the BEC method.
Marshall Hamilton Ed.D., Learning Cantonese in Hong Kong
Note from the author
Becoming Equipped to Communicate (BEC) is a language and culture learning curriculum that I originally developed while my wife and I were ourselves acquiring a minority endangered language in 2008-2009 in the Melanesian islands of Oceania. We subsequently worked with that language group in language development for many years. Since that first round of personal field-testing with the BEC curriculum, I have consulted for and tracked learners for more than a dozen years of successful implementation of the curriculum in many rural endangered and urban majority language contexts around the world. In the process, we have also verified that with proper implementation of BEC, learners can effectively and efficiently achieve worldview-level ability in the cultures and languages where they live.
I feel privileged to draw on postgraduate academic qualifications in linguistics and education, as well as many years of cross-cultural work, including learning three urban majority and two rural minority languages to an Advanced High level on the ACTFL scale. I have also been privileged to teach, coach learners, and travel for more than twenty years to evaluate and give direction for learners in second culture and language environments around the world. I would like to thank students, cross-cultural workers, and faculty colleagues for their diligent work, input, and support.