ERIC Number: ED438155
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 1999-Dec
Reference Count: N/A
Teaching American Indian and Alaska Native Languages in the Schools: What Has Been Learned. ERIC Digest.
Peacock, Thomas D.; Day, Donald R.
This digest considers issues, possible solutions, and successful efforts in dealing with Native language loss, maintenance, and restoration in American Indian and Alaska Native communities and schools. The preservation and maintenance of the remaining 210 tribal languages is a major cultural and education concern in Native communities. The problem is urgent, as most Native languages show tell-tale signs of endangerment: declining numbers of all speakers and of fluent speakers; lack of child speakers; and declining language use at social gatherings, at ceremonies, and in the home. Issues include the relationship between language and culture, lack of trained Native language teachers and curriculum materials, student peer pressure not to learn or use the tribal language, religious issues, lack of an acceptable orthography, dialectic differences, urban tribal diversity, and the extent of community support. Indigenous peoples who have had success in their language maintenance efforts share several characteristics: acknowledgment that the language is important enough to save in perpetuity, immersion experiences, literacy programs, community input and assistance, preschool programs, and extensive school programs that integrate language and culture. (Contains 10 references.) (SV)
Descriptors: Alaska Natives, American Indian Education, American Indian Languages, American Indians, Community Attitudes, Community Involvement, Elementary Secondary Education, Language Maintenance, Second Language Instruction
ERIC/CRESS, P.O. Box 1348, Charleston, WV 25325-1348. For full text: http://www.ael.org/eric/publicat.htm#digests.
Publication Type: ERIC Publications; ERIC Digests in Full Text
Education Level: N/A
Sponsor: Office of Educational Research and Improvement (ED), Washington, DC.
Authoring Institution: ERIC Clearinghouse on Rural Education and Small Schools, Charleston, WV.