Tag Archives: language learning

Module 2 Weblog Entry – Paige McClelland

Charlo, A. (2015, March 27). Indigenous language revitalization [Video]. Retrieved from Ted Talk website: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6kuC_IemiCs

  • In this video, April Charlo shares her experience of learning about her native language and its powerful connection to the land and people. She realizes that the Salish language doesn’t have the concept of ownership in regards to the natural world, by recognizing she had been using the word “my” in relation to the natural world for many years. She expresses, “What if I had been forcing unnatural concepts into the language of my people; what if my efforts were actually changing the true essence of my people forever?” For me, this was the most powerful moment of the video, because I realized the real power that language has in seemingly small exchanges. Reflecting on ancestral stories, April realizes that the concept of ownership was forged from the colonial era in which some of her ancestors were forced to own land. They had to develop an “adapt or die” mentality in order to survive, which didn’t align with their values or traditions. To April, language revitalization is much more than simply the language, but respecting and promoting the values and concepts that are attached to it. She ends with a powerful message: By focusing less on ownership and more on connection, how can one become more connected with the natural world?
  • As educators, how do we recognize when we might be forcing unnatural concepts on other cultures? I think this is an important question to reflect on when considering culturally responsive language learning.

Hare, J. (2014, April 4). A dialogue with Jan Hare: Professor in Indig. Education for Teacher Education. Retrieved from YouTube website: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gRfwcCxkrtg

  • In this course, I have really enjoyed reading Dr. Hare’s work, so I sought out more resources presented/written by her! Dr. Hare specializes in Indigenous education for teacher education (particularly in B.C.). At the beginning of this video, she poses the following question: If Indigenous knowledge is not just about being inclusive, then how do we center Indigenous knowledge? This is a question that I have been particularly interested in since the beginning of the term, especially in relation to advancing and preserving Indigenous languages. While Dr. Hare doesn’t state specific answers, I think she poses really important discussion prompts, such as “how do we develop new tools for interpreting old knowledge” in our practice and pedagogy? She also references the popular quotation, “It’s education that got us into this mess, and it’s education that will get us out,” ultimately arguing that we can transform our practice to integrate Indigenous knowledge and reshape curriculum in a way that is more centered. In terms of my research project focused on literacy, I am interested in ways that I can transform my current practice and help others to do the same, so that Indigenous knowledge is not only recognized and included, but also centered and grounded in language learning for all learners.

Maina, F. (1997). Culturally relevant pedagogy: First Nations education in Canada. The Canadian Journal of Native Studies XVII, 2, 293-314. Retrieved from http://www3.brandonu.ca/cjns/17.2/cjnsv17no2_pg293-314.pdf

  • Although this journal article is dated, I think it provides important information for educators on culturally responsive pedagogy. While technology has changed substantially since the publishing of this article, a lot of the issues regarding a culturally responsive classroom remain the same. It’s important for educators to provide space for both traditional and modern expressions of culture, and technology is potential way to do that. After reading this article, I was struck by the incredible responsibility that teachers have to “present complex, sensitive material in a way that helps the students understand the realities of their past and present while maintaining a positive outlook for the future.” When considering mobile education for literacy, there are certainly many options to provide material, but how do we ensure we are being sensitive in our selection of material? Is it up to us, even? Should it be?

Teaching for Indigenous Education. (n.d.). Key learning ideas [Web page]. Retrieved from http://www.indigenouseducation.educ.ubc.ca/language/key-learning-ideas/

  • Inspired by Dr. Hare’s work, I was directed to this website, which offers some fantastic resources, information, and scholarly work on 8 topics relevant to Indigenous education today. Each topic focuses on key learning ideas, Indigenous perspectives, enhancing understanding, classrooms connections, and additional resources. Since my research topic is on language and literacy, I gravitated toward that topic, but I think this whole website will be extremely valuable in this ETEC course and beyond. Under the classroom connections tab under the Languages topic, I was stunned by the extensive material provided for preservice and practicing teachers. It has been difficult to find classroom material that has been developed by Indigenous people for language and literacy, so I am really excited by these resources and its connection to the B.C. curriculum!

Walkus, J. (2015, December 11). Language is our life line [Video]. Retrieved from TED Talk website: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HqleT-kB6GU

  • In this Ted Talk, Joye Walkus shares her experience of learning the Indigenous language, Kwak’wala. She describes learning the language from her mother and now deceased “Gramps,” and connecting her family’s history with her present and future passion of sharing this language with her daughter and broader community. Her wish is for the language to survive, because learning a language isn’t simply about learning words in isolation–it is about sharing experiences and describing the depth of those experiences with those around us to learn and share. After watching this video, I have a deeper appreciation for the necessity to keep Indigenous languages alive, as it is a bridge that unites the past with the present and future and provides deeper meaning for all.
  • In connecting this to education, my question is, how can we bridge the “informal” styles of learning a language within the formal context of a school?