Beyond the Lab 2022-2023

Piipaash Language Teaching Guide

Beyond the Lab 2022 – Piipaash Language Teaching Guide

Two students from the Humanities Lab Spring 2022 – Language Emergency Lab joined the Beyond the Lab program in Fall '22 to augment an impact outcome developed in their original Lab – teaching guides for a Piipaash language storybook. ​​​

The team, consisting of Shahzadi Laibah Burq and Gina Scarpete Walters, worked throughout the Fall '22 and Spring '23 semesters in continued partnership with the Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community’s O’odham Piipaash Language Program (OPLP). Their objective was to create customized teaching materials to enhance the storybook teaching guides put forth in Spring '22.

To enhance their work the students also applied for and received Seize the Moment fellowship funding.

Scroll below to learn more about the team and their outcomes.

Original Impact Outcome

In Spring 2022, a group of three students developed a Piipaash Storybook Teaching Guide using current research from the field of applied linguistics. Their final Impact Outcome included lesson plans, teaching materials, and activity worksheets for students learning Piipaash.

Team Bios

Gina Scarpete Walters is currently doing her Ph.D. in Comparative Culture and Language at Arizona State University, where she also serves as a Graduate Teaching Associate of Linguistics. Her research interests lie primarily in the area of cognitive linguistics and cultural linguistics. She holds two M.A. degrees from the University of Bucharest and two Graduate Certificates in Psychopedagogy, with a focus on teaching Modern Greek as a Foreign/Second Language and Romanian as a First Language. She is one of the recipients of the 2022 NFMLTA-NCOLCTL Graduate Research Support Grant. Scarpete Walters is an advocate for linguistic and cultural diversity and less commonly taught languages.

Shahzadi Laibah Burq is a multilingual speaker of Urdu, English, Persian/Dari, Pashto, and Punjabi. She is currently doing her Ph.D. in Applied Linguistics at Arizona State University. Her research interests include L2 pedagogy, language planning and policy in higher education, and cognitive linguistics. Burq did her Bachelors in English Language and Literature from a University in Pakistan. She taught ESL for four years and became an enthusiastic advocate for linguistic diversity in academia. As an instructor, she switches back and forth between English and Urdu, and sometimes other indigenous languages during her lectures to create inclusivity among the students. Burq received a Fulbright award to pursue her Masters in TESOL at Arizona State University. For her final Capstone project, Burq worked on the ‘strategic use of translanguaging in ESL classrooms’ in the context of Pakistan. 

Final Beyond the Lab Outcome

In a continued partnership with the vibrant Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community’s O’odham Piipaash Language Program (OPLP), and with grant funding from the ASU Seize the Moment initiative, this ASU Beyond the Lab team sought to create a digital learning application for youth ages 4-6  that would serve as a tool to help safeguard the Piipaash ancestral heritage language. Piipaash is an endangered language as recorded by UNESCO.

Honoring the significance of the language and culture, the team —in addition to taking Piipaash language courses themselves— curated an immersive website journey that thoughtfully weaves together Piipaash greetings, local biodiversity, culinary traditions, and intricately crafted artifacts, fostering a sense of pride and connection.

Beyond the captivating animations and interactive elements, the team's project aims to nurture a profound understanding of familial bonds serving as a repository of collective memory for generations to come. Through this dynamic and engaging web application, the team aspires to bridge the gap between elders and youth, ensuring the continuity and vibrancy of the rich Piipaash language and cultural tapestry in the face of modern challenges. Interact with the website here.

Conference Presentations

In addition to the final digital teaching application, the ASU team gave conference presentations at the Symposium of American Indian Languages 2023 (SAIL), the 8th International Conference on Language Documentation & Conservation (ICLDC) and the 26th Annual Conference of the National Council of Less Commonly Taught Languages (NCOLCTL).  At these conferences Gina, Laibah, and their faculty instructor, Danko Sipka, shared their research, project methodology and insights gained through Piipaash language learning courses taken during their Beyond the Lab experience.