Aboriginal Languages and Education: The Canadian Experience

Sonia Morris, Keith McLeod, & Marcel Danesi

Aboriginal Languages and Education: The Canadian Experience

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The speaking and writing of aboriginal languages, and the maintenance of the cultures they circumscribe, are vital to the preservation of Canada’s identity. In the expression of a deeply-reflective Weltanschauung, and in the codification of a rich tradition, these languages constitute precious verbal media for conveying and institutionalizing ideas, concepts, and emotions that relate to the experience of Canada in its ecological totality.

They key to preserving these languages is education – the teaching of aboriginal languages and their culture in school, and their utilization as vehicles for the acquisition of knowledge and skills, especially in the context of the elementary school system where language plays a crucial role in the child’s cognitive and effective development.

This volume brings together seven studies, written by experts in the field, that deal with the most important features of native Canadian language education: the relation of language to culture; the kinds of curricular approaches best suited to aboriginal langauges; the optimal pattern of relationships between teacher and learner; the linguistic characteristics of the learner; and the role of communication in language study.

Edited by Sonia Morris, University of Saskatchewan; Keith McLeod, University of Toronto; Marcel Danesi, University of Toronto