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Sámi Education

Pigga Keskitalo, Kaarina Määttä and Satu Uusiautti

This book is a pioneering work. It discusses special characteristics of the education of Sámi people, an indigenous people living in Northern Europe. The book provides a comprehensive study of indigenous school research and special features of Sámi education including problems and opportunities that teachers and pupils confront daily. The purpose of this book is to support the realization of indigenous peoples’ education based on their own cultural premises. New, reformative pedagogical models and culturally sensitive teaching arrangements that could enhance Sámi education are the focus of the book. It is aimed at everyone who is interested in indigenous peoples’ educational conditions and is based on the authors’ research cooperation in the field of Sámi education.

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A View on Sámi Language Teaching

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Vitality of indigenous languages is directly proportional to the vitality of biolog- ical diversity. “The disappearance of species of plants, animals, or insects and the destruction of an ecosystem means the disappearance of related languages and knowledge” (Tauli-Corpuz, 2009, p. 6). Linguistic diversity is being threat- ened around the world and this threat is acutely felt by indigenous peoples. The survival and development of indigenous languages will require the will and ef- forts of indigenous peoples as well as the implementation of supportive policy, especially in the field of education (United Nations Permanent Forum on Indig- enous Issues, 2008). Therefore it is important to scientifically discuss the posi- tion of indigenous languages in teaching. Language is the way to a profound cultural understanding: it is a central part of teaching and provides valuable cultural information and a world-view that pupils can find significant (Hall, 2003). The purpose of this chapter is to de- scribe the North Sámi language instruction at the Sámi School of Norway and Sámi classes in Finland through these questions: what is the state of Sámi lan- guage instruction in compulsory education?; what kinds of teaching methods and learning materials are used to teach the Sámi language?; and how is pupils’ background taken into consideration in compulsory education in Norway and in Finland? The Realization of Teaching in the Sámi Language The state of Sámi language instruction in compulsory education It seems that language teaching has area- and country-specific differences...

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