Establishing a Language Planning Team

The language planning process can be structured in different ways according to what works for the community. Most communities will need both a language planner and a language planning team.

Communities may also consider having an advisory committee that includes people with knowledge about the language or with skills and experience in planning.

Language planner: The language planner is responsible for the overall development of the community’s language revitalization plan. The language planner’s duties may include the following tasks (depending on the planning stage):

  • Developing and coordinating work plans, schedules, tasks, the planning budget and expenditures
  • Organizing and participating in planning meetings
  • Ensuring planning deadlines are met
  • Developing, guiding, coordinating and facilitating the planning process
  • Facilitating the exchange of information and ideas between communities that share a related Indigenous language

Additional details and a sample job description can be found in the Language Planner Job Description Example, below.

Language planning team: The language planning team is a core group of dedicated people who have the time, motivation and skills to move the planning work forward. These people will develop documents, facilitate meetings, conduct language research, communicate with community members and perform other tasks as needed. Ideally these team members are paid for their work.

Language planning advisory committee: A language planning advisory committee is separate from the core language planning team. Their role is to provide insight and recommendations into the planning process. This advisory committee’s meetings would be less frequent than the language planning team’s would be, and they would not be responsible for doing any organizing or implementation work.

An advisory committee could include Elders, language champions, Knowledge Keepers or other key advisors. This is typically a volunteer role. However, members could be compensated for their time through an honorarium, shared meals or other ways of showing gratitude for their time and expertise. For more information on when and how to include a language planning advisory committee in the process, see Determining How to Include the Community in Developing the Plan.

Selecting or Hiring Planning Team Members

Planning for language revitalization starts with a group of committed people who have a common goal: to bring their Indigenous language back into everyday use. When seeking planning team members, identify people who support language revitalization. As much as possible, select people from within the community who know the community well.

It may be necessary to run a hiring competition to staff the language planning team. Some helpful skills to look for when selecting or hiring planning team members include the following:

  • Facilitation and conducting interviews
  • Engagement and communication
  • Community planning
  • Project management
  • Knowledge of language revitalization practices
  • Research and data analysis
  • Excellent written and oral communication skills
  • Knowledge of the community’s cultural protocols

While it would be great to include everyone, try to keep the core planning team to between two and five members. This will make the team easier to manage and coordinate. If more people want to be involved, invite them to join an advisory committee or to support the planning process in other ways.

Creating Team Agreements

Once the core planning team is established, forming a team agreement may be beneficial. A team agreement outlines how the team will work together and clarifies what is expected of everyone. A team agreement helps to unify everyone’s understanding of roles and responsibilities. See Language Planning Team Agreement for an example.