March 31, 2013

Oklahoma Plan May Make Native Languages Easier To Teach, Learn


Oklahoma plan may make native languages easier to teach, learn
March 24, 2013

The Oklahoma Department of Education is considering a rule change that would give native language speakers a path to certification that would allow them to teach their languages in public schools.

Right now, some of the only speakers of the languages are tribal members who aren't certified to teach, said Tricia Pemberton, the department's spokeswoman.

"This will ease the way for them to get certified," Pemberton said.

The proposed rule would outline the procedure for a native language speaker to become certified to teach their language at a school. First, the person would have to get a certification of proficiency in the language they want to teach, most likely from the tribe, and then submit a portfolio to the state education department documenting their expertise in the language. A background check also would be conducted.

If the certification is created, students who take the native languages would be able to earn world language credit, a requirement for high school graduation, Pemberton said.

The rule would give native language speakers a certification pathway, as well as resources and support to be in the classroom, said Desa Dawson, director of world languages at the state education department.

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