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Teaching Indigenous Languages for Vitality

The University of Winnipeg, in consultation with community partners, is offering a cohort-based Certificate in Teaching Indigenous Languages for Vitality. The Teaching Indigenous Languages for Vitality Certificate enhances the effectiveness of Indigenous languages teaching and learning through training current and future Indigenous languages teachers in effective and culturally nourishing pedagogies.

Graduates of this certificate program will have proficiencies required teach their Indigenous language to a wide range of learners. Students may apply their completed coursework for the Certificate to a future university degree such as a Bachelor of Arts or integrated Bachelor of Education.

Program Details

The Teaching Indigenous Languages for Vitality Certificate consists of ten courses (30 credit-hours) designed for part-time students who wish to develop specific proficiencies in Teaching Indigenous Languages for Vitality.

Course Components:
Each course is 3 credit hours, university-accredited. Courses are offered consecutively, on the following topics:

  1. Multilingual Learners
  2. How Languages are Acquired
  3. Linguistics for Communicative Teachers
  4. Critical Intercultural Competence in Schools
  5. Effective Methods in Language Teaching
  6. Student-Centred Indigenous Language Teaching
  7. Culturally-Sustaining Assessment of Indigenous Languages
  8. Multiliteracies and Pedagogical Technology
  9. Intergenerational Collaboration for Language Vitality (Capstone)
  10. Tutorial Apprenticeship: Indigenous Language Field Experience Mentorship

Each course requires a minimum of 30 contact hours between the professor and the students, as well as independent work time for reading and completing projects.

Courses will start in September 2022. The pacing of the courses will be one to two courses per term, over two to three years.

Tuesdays 2–4 pm, Thursdays 1–4 pm

Coursework will be completed in English, via distance delivery that will include ‘live’ (synchronous) interactive learning and independent work. Reliable high speed internet for each student is required and is the responsibility of the student.

Program Objectives

The Certificate in Teaching Indigenous Languages for Vitality prepares current and future language teachers to use culturally-informed, community-based and land-based methodologies to develop curricula and teach language courses that will result in increased home, family, and community usage of the Indigenous language. Students learn to evaluate methods, materials, and program designs in relation to their cultural authenticity and effectiveness in engaging students and building their communication skills in the language. They also learn how to work with various members of their community, including content-area teachers and fluent elder speakers, to create new and engaging curricula and learning activities for their learners. They learn to assess language proficiency in culturally responsive ways and measure their teaching effectiveness against their students’ proficiency.

Application and Registration

Those wishing to apply for the Teaching Indigenous Languages for Vitality certificate of completion program are required to apply for admission and register as undergraduate students in the Faculty of Arts. Undergraduate student application packages are due to The University of Winnipeg Admissions office by July 2, 2022.

For more information, please contact: admissions@uwinnipeg.ca or s.rozzi@uwinnipeg.ca.

Admission to the University of Winnipeg does not guarantee space in the Teaching Indigenous Languages for Vitality cohort. Students must obtain permission of the instructor and self-register in each cohort course, each term. Permission of the instructor is based on successful completion of the prior course in the cohort. For more information on availability of spaces in the current cohort, please contact the Indigenous Languages program coordinators, Dr. Lorena Fontaine l.fontaine@uwinnipeg.ca or Dr. Shelley Tulloch s.tulloch@uwinnipeg.ca.

Have you ever thought about becoming a teacher/instructor of your language?

Who is the Certificate in Teaching Indigenous Languages for Vitality for?

The University of Winnipeg’s Certificate in Teaching Indigenous Languages for Vitality is open to anyone who is committed to the path of becoming an Indigenous language teacher/instructor. Whether you have taught your language for many years already, or whether you aspire to teach, the Certificate will help you develop effective, evidence-based methods that are aligned with culturally-based Indigenous educational practices. These methods specifically allow teachers of any background to engage learners of any age in having fun, being on the land, and practicing Indigenous and international cultures through their language.

What is being offered?

The Indigenous Languages (IL) degree program at the University of Winnipeg is offering courses, starting in September 2022, which will specifically prepare language teachers to teach Indigenous languages for revitalization. You will learn to teach entirely in the language, even if you are still working to improve your language skills yourself, and you will be able to rapidly increase the conversational skills of your students, which is key to keeping our languages alive and healthy.

What are the required courses?

The Certificate in Teaching Indigenous Languages for Vitality requires students to complete a sequence of ten courses (30 credit hours). Courses taught in Fall/Winter 2020-2023 are listed below.

LING 4101(3) Special Topics: Multilingual Learners 
This is a course about how the human brain learns languages, and how we can create classrooms that maximize learning and learner confidence, even if our children do not hear their language at home. 

LING 4101(3) Special Topics: How Languages are Acquired 
This is a look at scientific findings and theories and how they can be used in classrooms to maximize what learners remember and how well they can communicate in their languages.

LING 4101(3) Special Topics: Linguistics for Communicative Teachers 
In this course, each student will identify what is hard or confusing for English or French speaking learners to understand about their Indigenous language and will develop clear lesson plans to help them master this part of the language. We will learn formal terminology and also compare across languages in ways that help us talk accurately about Indigenous languages.

Subsequent courses will develop the following skill sets/proficiencies:  

Critical Intercultural Competence
In this course, we will examine assumptions that we all bring to the classroom based on our backgrounds, and we will look at their impact on language learning, as teaching Indigenous languages is different from teaching foreign languages. Educators working with Indigenous languages must have specific competencies with regard to culture and power that are unlike those involved in the teaching of foreign languages.

Effective Methods in Language Teaching 
Designing curriculum that leads to rapid fluency in the language

Student-Centered Indigenous Language Teaching 
How to let what students are curious about lead the curriculum, while teaching in the language

Culturally-Sustaining Assessment of Indigenous Languages 
How to gauge learning progress and give helpful feedback, correction and encouragement to learners

Multiliteracies and Pedagogical Technology  
How to build online courses and use the internet to promote and teach the language

Intergenerational Collaboration for Language Vitality 
How to work with elders to create new curriculum and learning materials about new topics as a language program expands

Indigenous Language Field Experience Mentorship 
Teaching with group feedback, coaching, and collaboration as students try out new methods in their own classrooms

Do I qualify for the program?

Most likely, yes. You do not need to have a college degree to enroll, nor do you need any teaching experience. You also do not need to be completely fluent in your language. As long as you are committed to the challenging and lifelong work of learning and teaching your language, and open to methods you may not have tried before, you probably qualify for the program.

If you have any doubts, you can contact Stephanie Rozzi, Academic Advisor, Adult Learners and RPL, s.rozzi@uwinnipeg.ca, https://www.uwinnipeg.ca/adult-learner-services/advising.html 

Should I enroll if I'm already an experienced teacher?

Yes! This program’s focus on Indigenous and revitalization-focused teaching methods is new and unique, so much of what we learn may be new to you! Adopting these methods can often transform a language program from one where students learn about the language, into one where the students leave as language speakers. You can help lead change in your community!

Will I earn a certificate or degree through this program?

You can earn a Certificate in Teaching Indigenous Languages for Vitality by taking the full suite of 10 TILV courses. You can also earn a Bachelor's degree in Indigenous Languages by taking these and the other required courses. If you already hold a Bachelor's degree, you may be eligible to register in the post-baccalaureate diploma program.

How will I attend the classes?

All classes will happen online, so you can join from anywhere with a strong internet connection. These will be synchronous (live) classes occuring 5 hours per week during the term, and there will be a suggested group study time outside of class for 2-3 hours per week. You should ask about being released from your job during class times, as we expect them to be during the workday. Classes in 2022-2023 will be scheduled Tuesdays 2-4pm, Thursdays 1-4pm, with suggested group study time Saturdays 10 am-1 pm. 

What if I'm not used to being in school anymore and worried about passing classes?

These courses have been designed with Indigenous students of all ages in mind. They will run on what is called a cohort model, meaning you will have the same group of classmates throughout your time studying, you will take each class together and help each other succeed. There will not be heavy requirements for independent work, but there will be group and partner assignments and designated times to work together on those. The courses will not be focused on writing essays, but rather on doing the hands-on work of teaching. You will be able to use what you learn in your classes right away, or as soon as you begin working as a teacher or instructor. You can even use what you learn in your home, family, and community, to encourage those around you to learn and use the language. Classes will not be lectures, but rather discussions and hands-on workshops. While having some technology skills, academic literacy, and planning skills would be advantageous, you do not have to have these already to enroll as you will certainly develop some by participating in the program.  However, you do need to be able to work with email, Zoom, and cell phone multimedia messaging (think iMessage or Messenger). The rest we can learn together. 

How much will it cost to attend the classes? 

There are two ways to enroll, and two rates depending on where you live. 
You can enroll to earn credit for the courses, or you can enroll as an auditor (who is not required to submit coursework and does not obtain university credit, but pays an auditor’s fee). If you enroll as an auditor but still seriously apply yourself, it is possible to have your work assessed and approved for credit later. This would require the payment of an additional fee.

Please click here for detailed tuition information.

We strongly encourage you to inquire with your employer, First Nation, or Band about possible contributions or scholarships they may offer toward your tuition. You may also check out University of Winnipeg scholarships and awards here

What do I do to enroll?

Students must complete the University of Winnipeg application process. Visit the Future Students website for more information.

You must also consult with an Indigenous Language program coordinator who will clarify expectations, secure your spot in the cohort, and answer any questions you might have.

Until June 30th, 2022: Shelley Tulloch, s.tulloch@uwinnipeg.ca 

After July 1st, 2022: Lorena Fontaine, l.fontaine@uwinnipeg.ca

We are eager to meet you and to support you in breathing life into your language and community!