As this module focuses on the development and design of culturally responsive curriculum and educational pursuits, the focus of this weblog is in case studies and practical tools to help in the implementation of such pursuits.
Benton, N. (1989). Education, language decline and language revitalization: The case of Maori in New Zealand. Journal of Language and Education. 3(2).
- This article addresses the needs of educational reform in New Zealand as a way of preserving and revitalizing Maori language. It introduces the concept of Kohanga reo, or “Language Nests”. These language nests are similar to immersion programs, where aboriginal students in their early years of schooling are paired with Elders to improve the intergenerational transference of language. Although the reception of language nests varies, depending on the extent of Maori vs English being spoken at home and the parent acceptance of bilingual education programs, generally language nests have been successful and encouraging in seeing the revitalization of the Maori language among younger generations.
McIvor, Onowa. (2006). Building the Nests: Early Childhood Indigenous Immersion Programs in B.C.
- Onowa’s study conducted on two First Nations bands in BC are intended as a guide and Q&A booklet about the implementation and effectiveness of language nests here in Canada. The Adam’s Lake Band and Lil’wat Nation were the two communities approached for the study. Onowa’s guide presents key information about the language nests, including their importance (Why do we need them?), the context and significance of reaching out at early childhood, the specifics of the language nests program (What does it look like?). The study found that success within these communities was based on strong leadership within the community, amond parents and with teachers, as well as optimism and a never-give-up attitude. The study also found that Elders played a key role, and occasionally community (and Elder resistance) held up progress. Funding was also a challenge. The guide concludes with tips to a successful implementation of a language nests program.
First Nations Language Curriculum Building Guide. FNESC
- Although I’ve already highlighted the great FNESC website as a resource, I have also come across this language building guide. Chapter 2.2 on Creating Proficiency in First Nations Languages is a beneficial resource for teachers not knowing where to start with teaching or learning the language. It describes key concepts and the specifics for developing proficiency within a language. Chapter 2.4 describes various teaching methods for general language development, most of which can be applied to Indigenous language learning. Chapter 3.3 Examples from Elsewhere elaborates on language-specific learning frameworks that have been implemented in other areas around the world, including Australia and Europe. Chapter 4.5 goes into depth of different curriculum designs, each with different accommodations that they offer. Finally, the appendices give teachers access to several resources for assessment and implementation of language frameworks, including scope and sequence documents, themed topics, and sample units. The document is lengthy, but packed with useful information.
Ogoki Learning Inc.
- The website is modern and appealing as it introduces the Ojibway app for learning language. Promoted as a classroom learning resource, the Ogoki Learning app utilizes mobile devices and tablets to help “Tribes teach their language to young people”. The app boasts that they give out the source code to you, downloadable and “used by their Tribal members”, with the ability to update and edit as needed. The website provides plenty of information on how to download and use the app, as well as TED Talks video emphasizing the importance of learning the language of your culture. As the app does not require an internet connection, it is perfect for remote communities with limited access. The app provides assessment tools, games and stroybooks available for use with Smartboards. The Ojibway app is free to download on Android, Windows and iOS devices, as they are promoting the Ojibway language in as many communities as possible. For other communities to have their native tongue on the app, they may request a quote online.
Listen, Speak, See, Feel: Boosting Language Learning Through Ultrasound (September 2016). University of British Columbia.
- This is an intriguing article on how innovation in science and passion for language preservation and revitalization can come together to create powerful action. The article introduces eNunciate, “a web-based biovisual tool that uses ultrasound layering” to have language learners experience comparisons of pronunciations using a multimodal approach. Learners are able to “literally get inside a native language speaker’s head”, as the sounds and tongue formation are displayed using computer technology. UBC researchers have managed to blend the complexities of linguistics with ultrasonic images to enable language learners to see, feel and listen to subtle, sometimes imperceptible, differences in new languages. Studies have been conducted on Indigenous language learners, including the “W̱SÁNEĆ First Nation of Vancouver Island”, and have seen huge improvements in students being able to “break down language barriers” and reconnect with the language.