Archive for the ‘bilingual education’ Category

Program for the nomadic Penan

31 May 2012

The Penan are one of the last nomadic hunter-gathering peoples of the world. Inhabiting both the Malaysian and Brunei parts of the island of Brunei, about only 200 of 16,000 Penan remain nomadic.

They speak Eastern Penan (pez) and Western Penan (pne), which puts youngsters at a disadvantage in Malaysian schools where the national Malay (zsm) tongue is spoken.

To bring literacy to the Penan so they are adequately prepared to deal with the society they find themselves in, the Borneo Project is working on a series of books in Penan and has a bilingual preschool program for the Penan.

To learn more about the Penan, read “The Borneo Project,” in the Earth Island Journal.

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Call for bilingual education in Liberia

30 May 2011

The official language of Liberia is English. According to Wikipedia, that can refer to a variety of types of English. Wikipedia also lists 21 other languages in Liberia, a country with a population of nearly four million.

The Ethnologue lists six languages in Liberia with less than 10,000 speakers:

In “Liberians not wanting to know their indigenous language” on Newsvine, writer William Togbah extolls the benefits of indigenous languages and bemoans the fact that Liberians associate indigenous language with a lack of sophistication. At the same time, he notes that the English spoken in Liberia falls short of an international standard. His proposed solution: bilingual education.

The UNESCO Interactive Atlas of the World’s Languages in Danger does not list any languages as being endangered in Liberia.

Penticton Indian Band expands education options

4 May 2011

The Penticton Indian Band is part of the Okanagan Nation Alliance, an eight-member tribal council composed of tribes located in eastern British Columbia, Canada, and eastern Washington, US. The language of the Okanagan peoples is Colville-Okanagan (oka), though perhaps only 150 people are fluent today.

Steady progress has been made in widening language options:

In 1998, the En’Owkin Centre was moved to the Penticton Indian Reserve, where it began offering language classes. The center serves families and community members in addition to students.

In June 2008, the Paul Creek Language Association received a grant for a project that the Penticton Indian Reserve worked on, among others. The project was to create science and mathematics workbooks for grades kindergarten to four.

In July 2010, the Penticton Indian Band celebrated the opening of a child care center whose activities include language classes.

And last month, the Penticton Indian Band opened the Outma Squil’xw Cultural School, a kindergarten to eighth grade school offering language classes.

This is a lot of progress to be proud of!

Wyandot Classes Reawakening Language

11 April 2011

As reported in “Fighting to keep threatened Indigenous language alive” on APTN, the Huron-Wendat Nation is now holding Wyandot (wya) classes to reawaken their language.

The area occupied by the Wyandot Confederation once spanned from Quebec in Canada to Oklahoma in the US, and today the language Wyandot is located in each of those locations. In Quebec, there have been no native speakers for about a century, and while there were 24 speakers in Oklahoma as of 2000, Native Languages reports there are no native speakers of Wyandot today.

In Quebec, the Huron-Wendat Nation has launched the Yawenda Project (Facebook) to change that. According to a notice on the Huron-Wendat Nation’s site, Wyandot workshops began at Ts8taïe Elementary School on March 30. A community meeting is scheduled on Wednesday concerning the program.

TPR, Comics and Movies in Seneca Classroom

14 March 2011

Seneca (see) is a language spoken in Ontario, New York and Oklahoma. Known in Seneca as Onödowága or Onötowáka, the language had 175 older speakers in the 1990s according to the Ethnologue.

Yet the language is being taught and an educator has started a blog called Seneca Language Revitalization and Documentation. According to the blog, Seneca is being taught for 40 minutes a day in public schools at the middle and high school levels.

A post put up yesterday mentions the use of TPR or total physical response, a method that incorporates physical movement of students into language learning. TPR was developed by James J. Asher and articles are available on TPR World. Also mentioned are the use of movies. The blog post points out Animoto, a free tool for making movies from images and video clips, and Xtranormal, whose free State program allows you to make animated movies.

Another post talks about using comic strips in the education program. Seneca has a strong oral tradition, and students use the comic strip as a guide for telling a story. The tool used is ToonDoo, which appears to offer free comic strip making online.

To learn more about Seneca, see the Education page on the Seneca Nation of Indians website. See also the incredible Seneca Language Topic Reference Guide (PDF), a document about 100 pages in length covering vocabulary, grammar and culture. To type in Seneca on your computer, see the Language Geek.

US News in Brief: Bilingual Ed Overview, Salish Immersion, Cherokee Eye Chart

12 February 2011

The Research & Evaluation Division of the Kamehameha Schools in Hawai’i published a short paper in November titled “An Overview of Bilingual Education.” Written by Justin Hong, it provides a succinct look at models/programs and philosophies/goals of bilingual programs. There is also a list of key points that have been learned from bilingual programs, followed by a list of references.

Nk̓ʷusm is a  non-profit organization in Arlee, Montana that operates the Snïiiïo Salish (fla) immersion program for preschool and primary school, with a current enrollment of 30 students. They also have other programs for adults. Nk̓ʷusm also offers a dictionary, CDs and books for sale on their merchandise page.

You know the eye charts with the big “E” at the top used to test your vision? They are now available in Cherokee! The chart was developed by Alex Cruz, an employee at the Kituwah Academy, which offers immersion education in  Cherokee (chr). See Hospital Eye Chart in Cherokee Language for a photo of the eye chart and further details. See also Cherokee Preservation Foundation on Wikipedia for information about cultural revitalization.