November 25, 2010

Teaching Lakota as a second language

Lakota LLEAPs to the leading edge of second-language educationThe revival of the Lakota language opens a new chapter in 2011, as two institutions of higher learning in the Great Plains initiate undergraduate degree majors for teachers of Lakota as a second language--making Lakota the first Native American language to achieve this kind of professional recognition.

Beginning in January 2011, the University of South Dakota School of Education in Vermillion, S.D. and the Sitting Bull College Education Department, Standing Rock Sioux Tribe, in Fort Yates, N.D. will each offer a two-year Lakota Language Teaching and Learning curriculum, as a degree major for a Bachelor of Arts in Education at USD or Bachelor of Science in Education at SBC.

This two-year curriculum will be taught, administered, and evaluated over the four-year grant period by LLEAP, the Lakota Language Education Action Program, developed by the Lakota Language Consortium to coordinate this effort by USD and SBC. This coordinated program systematically addresses the problem of how to generate high-quality teachers of an important Native American language--teachers who have deepened their own fluency in the language through college-level study, and who understand how a second language is taught and learned.
Lakota language gets a boost

Grant aims to help develop teachers, cultivate students

By Steve Young
Officials at the University of South Dakota in Vermillion and Sitting Bull College in Fort Yates see those possibilities, too. That's why they are developing bachelor's-degree programs to train teachers of Lakota as a second language.

The two schools have been awarded a four-year, $2.4 million grant by the Department of Education to institute the programs beginning next year and, within the initial four years, to educate 30 new Lakota language teachers.

The grant will pay for one instructor at each school--a Lakota linguistics expert for USD and, at Sitting Bull, an instructor specializing in second language methodology. The schools will be able to share the instructors, either through distance learning or possibly some travel, officials say.

The grant also will allow 16 Native American students at USD and 14 at Sitting Bull College to receive $2,000 a month for two years to pay their tuition, fees and living expenses.

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