New certificate program offered at U of S in response to TRC recommendations
- Tiffany Head | June 09, 2015
As part of a response to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission's (TRC) findings that there needs to be more education, the College of Education at the University of Saskatchewan will be offering a new certificate course.
One of the main recommendations from the TRC was to change the curricula on education mandates for every school in Canada starting from Kindergarten to Grade 12.
Two of the recommendations were to develop culturally appropriate curricula and to protect the rights to Aboriginal languages, including the teaching of Aboriginal languages as credit courses.
The College of Education is responding to the call for post-secondary institutions to establish university programs in Aboriginal languages.
Dean Michelle Prytula expressed that it is very exciting and they have been preparing for the course in the past year with the help of community members, for which she is very thankful.
“It’s very important for the College to do something about it, because just like residential schools very harmfully took away peoples identity, it should be the responsibility of the schools to give it back. The College is so willing to make that contribution...(it's) critically important for us to stop language erosion in communities and help people build again,” said Prytula.
The College of Education has recently created the Indigenous Language certificate and will accept students for its Cree language program in September 2015. It will be a 10 course, 30 credit unit language certificate in Cree. Kevin Lewis from Blue Quill will be teaching the courses.
“It also gives the students taking the course the pedagogical skills they need to teach it to other students,” said Prytula.
They are currently developing a Michif (Métis) language program to be launched in September 2016.
In addition, they will also educate the undergraduate pre-service teacher education program and the specialized Indian Teacher Education Program (ITEP) how to integrate Indigenous knowledge and teaching methods into classrooms.
New graduate teachers and people going into the program will learn how to establish culturally appropriate curricula and advancing education attainment levels and success rates, as well as be able to identify teacher-training needs relating to Aboriginal education issues.
For 43 years, that has been ITEP’s mandate but so far it has been shown that Cree was not widely spoken in the classroom.
Chris Scribe , the ITEP coordinator at the University of Saskatchewan, says that the Indigenous language certificate course will be a great initiative for educators to start teaching in Cree, in their own classrooms, because so far that has not been happening.
"I've noticed that even our teachers in our classrooms are not teaching in Cree. It's not normal for them to do so, which was caused by the direct relation from the cultural genocide that occurred in the residential school system," said Scribe.
With the new Indigenous language certificate program in place, teachers will be able to teach their classes in Cree, as well as incorporate Indigenous history and culture into their teachings.
- Truth and Reconciliation Commission releases its findings
- TRC finds Canada committed "cultural genocide"
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